Cristiano Ronaldo is far from ready to hang up his boots and has his sights set on another World Cup appearance in 2026, even if it means playing into his 40s.
The determined Al-Nassr forward is eager to participate in the 2026 World Cup and has communicated his ambitious plans to both his club and national team. At 41 years old when the next World Cup arrives, Ronaldo is aiming to extend his football career to make it happen. Should he compete for Portugal in the tournament, taking place in the US, Canada, and Mexico, he would achieve the remarkable feat of participating in six World Cups.
Reports suggest that Ronaldo intends to prolong his contract with Al-Nassr, currently set to expire in a year and a half, until 2027. His goal is to maintain competitive football activity leading up to the international championship. The World Cup title remains the one major honor that has eluded the 38-year-old football legend.
In his previous five World Cup attempts, Ronaldo has never advanced beyond the semi-final stage, an achievement he reached in his debut tournament back in 2006. He has also struggled to score in the knockout stage, going goalless in eight such matches.
During the 2022 World Cup, Ronaldo was dropped from the starting lineup midway through Portugal’s campaign and left the field in tears after the team was eliminated by Morocco in the quarter-finals. Lionel Messi’s Argentina ultimately claimed the trophy in Qatar, settling, in many people’s eyes, the ‘Greatest of All Time’ debate.
Nevertheless, Ronaldo is a physical anomaly and, if anyone can break their World Cup jinx in their early 40s, it’s him. The five-time Champions League winner has started nearly every match under new Portugal manager Roberto Martinez, scoring five goals and proving that his impact on the national team is far from diminished.
Ronaldo has also displayed excellent goal-scoring form at Al-Nassr this season, netting 17 goals in 17 appearances across all competitions. He played a pivotal role in Al-Nassr’s victory in the Arab Club Champions Cup in August, scoring both goals in the 2-1 win over Al-Hilal in the final.