The 2010 World Cup in South Africa will only kick off in June but Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo is already visualizing the prospect of winning the worldâ€™s most prestigious sports title, the World Cup trophy.
None of footballâ€™s elites will be missing; even in case France might have missed out on the finals at the expense the Republic of Ireland if Thierry Henryâ€™s handball went punished, then the reality is that the 1998 World Cup champions will be in South Africa to contest for the 2010 World Cup.
Cristiano Ronaldo spoke about this summerâ€™s tournament, which will be hosted on African soil for the first ever time, as what will be the greatest ever.
The Portugal captain affirmed to AS:
â€œThere will be all the great teams and players. There were great teams in recent tournaments, but this one will be the strongest.
â€œThe teams that qualify deserved to be there.
“But this time those [2010 World Cup participants] are presumably the most powerful.â€
As a teenager and a debutant in footballâ€™s major tournaments, Cristiano Ronaldo was 90 minutes away from winning a trophy with Portugal. That was back in the 2004 European Championship when his Portugal side got defeated by Greece in the final.
Four years ago, Cristiano Ronaldo could have tasted glory with his country during the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
However, two defeats against France and Germany in the semi-finals and in the third place final respectively saw Portugal finish fourth in that tournament.
Portugal have never clinched a major trophy in football; now skipper Cristiano Ronaldo dreams of completing this task at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
â€œI wish to win a major tournament for my country and everyone knows that, because Iâ€™ve said so several times.
â€œWe came very close at Euro 2004 in Portugal as well as at the World Cup where we finished in fourth place.â€
Portugal are far from being portrayed as titans like their South American rivals Brazil. But for Cristiano Ronaldo, his national team is improving and can reach the sky at the 2010 World Cup.
The Portugal skipper explained:
â€œIn South Africa, our team will be more mature. We are a team that went through difficult stages during qualification.
â€œThings have improved in recent months; a team is created overnight.â€
Portugal are in the 2010 World Cupâ€™s group of death, Group G. It includes the likes of Didier Drogbaâ€™s Ivory Coast, underdogs North Korea, and five-time World Cup champions Brazil.
Whether Portugal will even qualify from Group G is one question, but Cristiano Ronaldo prefers to focus his attention on a wish; the chance of having good luck.
â€œMany teams can win the World Cup and I think that Portugal is part of this group. Of course, good things need to happen.
â€œWe have to work hard. We have confidence, we have support, and we can get lucky. At least, we can hope that the luck we have isnâ€™t bad.â€
Angela Asante, CRF Chief Editor