Cristiano Ronaldo on course for rematch with Euro 2024 rival after 'ending his career'

Cristiano Ronaldo is still a starter with Portugal at 39 years old (Image: Getty)

Cristiano Ronaldo has evolved from a flair player during his time at Manchester United to a ruthless goalscorer in the latter years of his career. But the Portuguese still has one or two tricks up his sleeve.

That much became clear at the last European Championship, when he skinned Antonio Rudiger in such eye-catching fashion that it sent fans into a frenzy. Providing Portugal and Germany win the games they’re expected to, Ronaldo and Rudiger will do battle again at Euro 2024.

Former Real Madrid forward Ronaldo and current Los Blancos defender Rudiger went toe-to-toe during an entertaining contest in the group stages of Euro 2020.

And one particular moment left Rudiger red-faced. With a bouncing ball fired towards Ronaldo, and Rudiger quickly on the scene to apply pressure, the Portuguese skilfully flicked the ball over his opponent’s head, made a playful gesture while it was in the air, and then played a no-look, back-heel pass to Bruno Fernandes.

Fans lapped up a flash of the young, flamboyant Ronaldo on the international stage. Some called it ‘rude’, others claimed it would cause Rudiger’s market price to tumble, and one even went so far as to say it would ‘end his career’.

Three years on, Ronaldo and Rudiger are still core members of their respective international teams, who are both tipped to go far at Euro 2024. And Ronaldo will be keen for revenge, despite getting one over on Rudiger individually, as his team lost that encounter 4-2.

Cristiano Ronaldo skinned Antonio Rudiger at Euro 2020 (Image: Getty)

Portugal and Germany are projected to meet in the tournament’s semi-finals, providing there are no surprises along the way. The hosts are off to a blistering start, with wins over Scotland and Hungary, while Portugal will go for their second victory of the group stages against Turkey later today (Saturday).

Ronaldo, now 39 years old, played the full 90 minutes of Portugal’s win over Czechia in their Group F opener. And national team boss Roberto Martinez is adamant he still has the physical capabilities to start every game if needed.

“The amount of minutes Cristiano played last season tells you all you need to know,” he said. “There is not another player in world football that has been to six Euros’.

“Cristiano is in the Portuguese national team because he deserves to be. He scored 51 goals in 50 games. And all the physical stats just back up that he can play every four days.”