Ramos rises, Ronaldo falls – Portugal welcomes a new star and possibly bids farewell to another

FPL360
By FPL360
Ramos rises, Ronaldo falls – Portugal welcomes a new star and possibly bids farewell to another

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World Cup drama 

Portugal’s emphatic 6-1 victory over Switzerland on Tuesday evening felt like a seminal moment for the nation as it carefully bid farewell to one historic star and possibly welcomed a new one on to the international stage in one fell swoop. And in the process, Fernando Santos’ side comfortably made their way to the next round of the World Cup, where they’ll now face a tricky Morocco in the quarter finals. 

Indeed, while Santos may not have needed his strongest possible starting XI to get past a lowly Swiss side, the Portugal manager’s decision to drop star forward Cristiano Ronaldo for the match undoubtedly made waves across the World, as many wondered whether the star’s national side had finally decided to move on from the 37-year-old talent in favour of more youthful options. 

Unfortunately for Ronaldo, it seems to work perfectly well. The player tasked with taking Ronaldo’s place was none other than 21-year-old Benfica striker Gonçalo Ramos, who certainly didn’t waste any time. The striker, who currently enjoys a market value of €24 million, scored after just 17 minutes, only to then add a further two goals to his performance over the course of the game. 

The most valuable players in the 2022/23 Portugal Primeira Liga

35. Zaidu (Porto) | Market value: €10M

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34. Nuno Santos (Sporting) | Market value: €10M

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33. Paulinho (Sporting) | Market value: €10M

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32. João Mário (Benfica) | Market value: €12M

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31. Gabriel Veron (Porto) | Market value: €12M

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30. Mateus Uribe (Porto) | Market value: €12M

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29. Julian Draxler (Benfica) | Market value: €12M

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28. João Mário (Porto) | Market value: €12M

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27. Fredrik Aursnes (Benfica) | Market value: €13M

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26. Jeremiah St. Juste (Sporting) | Market value: €13M

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25. Al Musrati (SC Braga) | Market value: €14M

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24. Morato (Benfica) | Market value: €15M

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23. Galeno (Porto) | Market value: €15M

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22. Florentino (Benfica) | Market value: €15M

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21. Vitinha (SC Braga) | Market value: €15M

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20. António Silva (Benfica) | Market value: €15M

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19. Odysseas Vlachodimos (Benfica) | Market value: €16M

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18. Manuel Ugarte (Sporting) | Market value: €18M

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17. Ricardo Horta (SC Braga) | Market value: €20M

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16. Alejandro Grimaldo (Benfica) | Market value: €20M

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15. Francisco Trincão (Sporting) | Market value: €20M

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14. Mehdi Taremi (Porto) | Market value: €20M

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13. David Carmo (Porto) | Market value: €20M

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12. David Neres (Benfica) | Market value: €22M

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11. Evanilson (Porto) | Market value: €22M

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10. Pepê (Porto) | Market value: €22M

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9. Gonçalo Inácio (Sporting) | Market value: €23M

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8. Rafa Silva (Benfica) | Market value: €23M

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7. Gonçalo Ramos (Benfica) | Market value: 24M€

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6. Pedro Porro (Sporting) | Market value: €25M

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5. Marcus Edwards (Sporting) | Market value: €25M

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4. Pedro Gonçalves (Sporting) | Market value: €30M

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3. Otávio (Porto) | Market value: €30M

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2. Diogo Costa (Porto) | Market value: €35M

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1. Enzo Fernández (Benfica) | Market value: €35M

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Not only was Ramos the first player to score a hat-trick on his first World Cup start since Miroslav Klose did it for Germany in 2002, but the striker was also confirmed as the youngest Man to score a hat-trick in a World Cup knock-out aside from none other than football legend Pele, who scored in the 1958 semi-finals. Which was certainly not a bad way to introduce himself to the international stage. 

Goncalo Ramos' form for Benfica this season

Ramos celebrates as Ronaldo leaves the pitch in search of a new club

Following the full time whistle, the contrast in fortunes between the two players couldn’t be more evident. While Ramos and his team mates celebrated the victory, Ronaldo was filmed walking straight off the pitch, where he was tasked with explaining where his next career move will be in the January window. 

Following the player’s departure from Manchester United prior to the World Cup, Ronaldo has been heavily linked with a move to Saudi Arabia club Al Nassr due to the incredible finances that the Gulf club could offer. However, the striker was quick to deny any suggestions that he was ready to give up on playing at the highest level just yet. “No, that’s not true — not true”, said Ronaldo after the game when asked about the Al Nassr links. 

However, the number of options available to Ronaldo at this point are hard to gauge. And as if to hammer home the point, Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al Khelaifi was entirely dismissive of the idea of signing the player in January. “Signing Ronaldo? The three players that we have [Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappé] it’s very difficult to think about Ronaldo”, he told Sky Sports. “I wish him all the best. He’s fantastic and he’s still an amazing player.” 


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