Portugal international forward Cristiano Ronaldo has admitted that his side are not one of the favourites to win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The Euro 2004 finalists have been drawn against Germany, Ghana and the USA in Group G, and are expected to progress beyond the group stage at least.
The Seleccao have been one of the more consistent international teams in the last decade. They reached the final of the European Championship in 2004, progressed to the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2006 and advanced to the last four of Euro 2012.
Portugal have been there or thereabouts, but have persistently failed to go the extra mile. However, with Ronaldo in top form, there have been suggestions that this time the European nation can go all the way and win the World Cup.
Of course, given that the tournament is being held in Brazil and no European team have won it outside of their continent are factors that cannot be ignored, but hope springs eternal. Ronaldo has assured his countrymen that he will give his best and so will his teammates in Brazil, but admits that Portugal are not one of the favourites.
‘We left for the World Cup in Brazil with hope, but also making sure that we keep our feet firmly on the ground’, the 2013 FIFA Ballon d’Or winner wrote on Sportlobster.com. ‘We have ambition, but with the awareness that we have to set ourselves some goals, set by step, game by game. Calmly but with confidence. We are not favourites, indeed, but we will, as always, try to do the best possible’.
Ronaldo has often been portrayed in the media as vain and proud, but these words of his demonstrate remarkable humility and pragmatism. Deep in his heart, the Real Madrid forward would know that at 29 this is probably his last chance to win the World Cup, and he will be giving his all to do so.
The Manchester United legend knows that with the likes of Brazil, Argentina, Spain and Germany all looking strong, Portugal have a tough competition on their hands. Ronaldo is humble now, but once he gets onto the pitch, he will have just one thing on his mind: winning the World Cup for his country.