Cristiano Ronaldo at the Euros: His five campaigns ranked by goal contributions

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Cristiano Ronaldo at the Euros: His five campaigns ranked by goal contributions

Sports Mole looks at how Cristiano Ronaldo has performed for Portugal at his five European Championships.

Cristiano Ronaldo will make history when he takes to the field for Portugal at Euro 2024.

Indeed, the 39-year-old will become the first player to take part in six European Championships.

As it stands, Ronaldo is level on five European Championship appearances with Spain legend Iker Casillas, but the Al-Nassr forward will move out on his own at the upcoming tournament.

Here, Sports Mole takes a look at how the forward has performed for his country at the competition, ranking his five appearances in order of goal contributions.

Euro 2012 – 3 goals, 0 assists

Prior to 2016 at least, much like his long-term rival Lionel Messi, there was an assumption that Cristiano Ronaldo was a player who had failed to deliver on the big international stages.

However, that’s a little bit of a myth, given that even during his worst Euros campaign for goal contributions (in 2012) Ronaldo still scored three times, and largely carried his team to the semi-finals. His three goals were all big ones, including a brace against the Netherlands in Portugal’s final group match, which secured progress.

Ronaldo also netted the only goal in their quarter-final win over Czech Republic. He was, however, left frustrated as an unused fifth penalty taker in the semis, with misses from Joao Moutinho and Nani allowing eventual winners Spain to advance to the final after a goalless Iberian derby.

Euro 2008 – 1 goals, 3 assists

Euro 2008 was the worst of Ronaldo’s record breaking five appearances in the competition in terms of goals, with his only strike coming in the 3-1 group stage win over the Czechs.

He did still chip in with three assists, but Portugal exited the tournament after a 3-2 quarter-final defeat to Germany in Basel, in what was the then Manchester United player’s third appearance at a major international tournament.

Euro 2004 – 2 goals, 2 assists

Ronaldo’s debut on the big international stage came as a teenager way back in 2004. Portugal were the host nation, and the winger was one of a number of breakout young stars to shine in the tournament, along with his future Manchester United teammate Wayne Rooney.

The biggest contribution from Cristiano Ronaldo at Euro 2004 came in the semi-finals when he headed home the opening goal against the Netherlands, in a 2-1 victory at his former home ground in Lisbon. However, the first dose of international heartbreak for Ronaldo was to follow only a few days later, as surprise package Greece stunned the hosts in the final.

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Euro 2016 – 3 goals, 2 assists

On many levels, Portugal’s Euro 2016 squad was perhaps the weakest of the five that Ronaldo has been a part of in this competition. There were no other massive stars in the XI that started the final in Paris, which only adds weight to the theory that this was his best Euros.

However, Ronaldo was inconsistent in France, and his return of just three goals isn’t particularly impressive when considering that Portugal went all the way to the final in a newly expanded tournament. Had Portugal finished third in any group prior to 2016, they would have gone straight home, and a pretty favourable run of fixtures only compounds the sense of high fortune over skill.

Euro 2020 – 5 goals, 1 assist

With the burden of having not won an international trophy off his back, Ronaldo was closer to his brilliant club form at Euro 2020, producing some clinical finishes helping him chalk up five goals in the group stage alone – although three of those were penalties.

Despite Portugal’s 1-0 defeat in the last 16 against Belgium, Ronaldo still ended the tournament as the joint-top scorer along with Patrik Schick. Meanwhile, he extended his record goal tally in the tournament to 14 overall – five clear of Frenchman Michel Platini.

On a personal level, this was much closer to the ruthless version of Ronaldo than we saw in 2016, and while it was over all too quickly, the veteran produced some of his best tournament football at the grand old age of 36.

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