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‘The road is not over yet’

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Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo has said he will not retire from international duty after the World Cup and wants to compete at Euro 2024.

Manchester United forward said the “road is not over yet” for him when speaking at a gala hosted by the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) on Tuesday for becoming the highest men’s international goalscorer in September with 109 goals.

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“I am proud to receive an award of this magnitude,” Ronaldo said.

“I never thought that one day I could achieve it. I thank everyone who was important in my career. It has been a long road, but I would like to say that my road is not over yet. [You’re going to have to] take a little more load from Cris [Ronaldo.]”

Since making his Portugal debut in 2003, Ronaldo has scored 117 goals in 189 international games, surpassing the record set by former Iran striker Ali Daei.

A five-time Ballon d’Or winner, Ronaldo captained Portugal to Euro 2016 glory and the 2019 Nations League.

“I hope to be part of the Federation for a few more years,” he added. “I still feel motivated, my ambition is high. I’m in a team with young people. I want to be part of this World Cup and the European too; I’m going to assume that right away.”

Ronaldo, who was included in Portugal’s latest squad for the upcoming Nations League games against the Czech Republic and Spain, was thrilled to add another award to his collection as he got a standing ovation.

“I’m happy,” he said. “I already missed receiving an award.

“It’s with pride that I see guys I played with, with whom I’m going to play.”

The former Juventus and Real Madrid forward then joked about the length of his career. He laughed and said: “[United and Portugal teammate] Diogo [Dalot] even jokes with me ‘you played with everyone, until you become a carcass’ and it’s true.”

Portugal midfielder Bruno Fernandes, who plays with Ronaldo at United, has backed Ronaldo to continue to break records in his international career after the World Cup, which begins in Qatar in November.

“Whoever could believe that he didn’t want to be at that European Championship, doesn’t know him,” Fernandes told a news conference on Wednesday.

“We know well the resilience, taste and ambition he has shown over the years. It’s not new. We know that Cristiano wants to achieve things that others have never achieved. He will always have the same importance. He is the best player in the world and he will continue to overcome barriers that others cannot.”

Ronaldo, who scored 24 goals in 38 games in all competitions for United last season, was named on the 30-man list of Ballon d’Or nominees last month.

Ronaldo ended his goal drought from the penalty spot in a 2-0 win against Sheriff Tiraspol in the Europa League. It was his first goal in eight appearances this season and the 699th of his club career.

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