Cristiano Ronaldo, who on Thursday scored a record-setting fifth World Cup goal to help Portugal defeat Ghana 3-2, said he had put his recent problems at Manchester United behind him. Days after parting ways with Manchester United, ageing legend Ronaldo scored a penalty kick in the 65th minute to surpass Pele, Uwe Seeler, and Miroslav Klose, who all scored in four World Cups. Despite being named player of the match in Portugal’s opening Group H victory, he then treated the reporters in attendance to a two-minute press conference in which he only responded to one question.
“It was a beautiful moment, my fifth World Cup, we won, and we started with our good foot. It’s a very important win, we know the first match is crucial, but the world record is also something that makes me very proud,” said Ronaldo. Ronaldo’s departure from United, a Premier League powerhouse, was confirmed last week after he criticised the team and manager Erik ten Hag in a TV interview. In a victory that also featured goals from young stars Rafael Leao and Joao Felix, he hasn’t displayed any indications of stress from the beginning to the end of his time at Old Trafford. “It was an important step, it was a week which finished this chapter. It is closed, and we want to start on the good foot,” added Ronaldo.
“I could help my team and all the rest does not matter.” The 37-year-old will likely playing in his final World Cup, and Portugal coach Fernando Santos praised him as a classic of the game. “I believe people will continue to speak about his achievements, he is a phenomenon, a legend like others in football,” said Santos. “In 50 years’ time we will continue to talk about him.”