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Cristiano Ronaldo becomes first man to score in five consecutive World Cups, but it was a nervy win

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Cristiano Ronaldo becomes the first man to score in five consecutive World Cups, though it all but ended in disaster as the superstar could only watch from the bench as Portugal clung desperately to victory over Ghana

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“I don’t follow records, records follow me.” Remarkably fitting after the past few weeks and in his first match of the tournament, Cristiano Ronaldo once again made his mark in history by becoming the first player to score in five World Cups.

And before? Raw emotion. Ronaldo stood up as the Portuguese national anthem played and tears rolled down his cheeks as one of the greatest players to ever grace the game was finally able to take center stage again.

The rawness of the occasion and the drama that unfolded summed up what had been written on the back pages over the past two weeks.

Cristiano Ronaldo's penalty made him the first man to score in five consecutive World Cups

Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty made him the first man to score in five consecutive World Cups

Ronaldo would always have his say after so much was written and spoken about him.

And yet Portugal had threatened to write their own negative newslines. Ronaldo gasped on the sidelines as goalkeeper Meireles da Costa narrowly avoided embarrassment at the last minute with Portugal leading 3-2.

Seemingly unaware of his surroundings, Da Costa put the ball down and striker Inaki Williams pounced on him from behind. Somehow the goalkeeper raced back into position and a mistimed slip by Williams allowed Portugal to clear the danger.

The camera panned straight at Ronaldo, who had an expression of sheer horror etched on his face. This was just one of many awkward moments for Ronaldo on the day.

Sometimes he frowned and complained to the opponent, referee, teammates and even to the sky over Doha.

Ronaldo's second-half goal came in a turbulent week for the 37-year-old Portuguese star

Ronaldo's second-half goal came in a turbulent week for the 37-year-old Portuguese star

Ronaldo’s second-half goal came in a turbulent week for the 37-year-old Portuguese star

However, the hallmark of a truly great player is having the courage to pull your team out of a dire situation and the way Ronaldo won in 65 minutes and flawlessly converted his penalty kick was further proof of his stature within the game.

A sea of ​​red and green sweaters rose in anticipation. They, like many others, had practiced what came next.

Ronaldo performed his famous Suiii in celebration with thousands around the stadium joining him and the smiles returned.

He missed a few chances in the first half as Portugal faced Ghana in their opening match

He missed a few chances in the first half as Portugal faced Ghana in their opening match

He missed a few chances in the first half as Portugal faced Ghana in their opening match

Ghana had fought their way back into the game with a great show of fighting spirit, but Portugal proved to have too much quality.

Ronaldo was substituted in the 88th minute and continued to perform on the sidelines – a la the Euro 2016 final.

He had kept his 100 per cent record as a coach, despite Portugal’s efforts to throw away their small lead.

Ronaldo captained his country less than 48 hours after his Manchester United deal ended

Ronaldo captained his country less than 48 hours after his Manchester United deal ended

Ronaldo captained his country less than 48 hours after his Manchester United deal ended

A burst of emotion duly ensued as the full-time whistle blew.

It was clear that recent events had affected Ronaldo as he was hugged and congratulated by all the other players on the pitch.

You can certainly question the timing and manner of his great interview with Piers Morgan, but what you can’t question is Ronaldo’s ruthlessness and desire for success.

He had once again made his mark and this time the back pages will be filled with the positivity Ronaldo had become accustomed to, rather than the negativity that threatened to overshadow the big man’s farewell show on the biggest stage of them all.

The former Man United and Real Madrid midfielder was substituted in the 88th minute

The former Man United and Real Madrid midfielder was substituted in the 88th minute

The former Man United and Real Madrid midfielder was substituted in the 88th minute


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