Cristiano Ronaldo’s international career kick started with Euro 2004, where he scored his maiden international goal in a group stage match against Greece, followed by a score of 2-1 against Netherlands in semi finals, making Portugal a finalist in Euro 2004. He was a part of UEFA Euro All-Star Team and Team Portugal in 2004 Summer Olympics as well.
Couple of years later he played in 2006 World cup, where in the FIFA world cup qualification rounds, Cristiano Ronaldo was the 2nd highest scorer (with 7 goals) in the euro zone. However, Ronaldo’s overall conduct during FIFA world cup 2006 was a deterrent and made him lose out on the Best Young Player award. Portugal lost the semi-final match against France.
Ronaldo was believed to be instrumental in influencing the decision of referee in sending off Wayne Rooney during a semi final game against England, an action which attracted a lot of angry reaction from British media and there were various negative online campaigning against him by the British fans. However; referee Horacio Elizondo later clarified that Ronaldo had no part to play whatsoever in Rooney being carded off.
The negative reaction of English media forced Ronaldo to think about moving to another club, where he apparently expressed his interest in moving to Real Madrid. However, with Ferguson’s effort it was sorted out and he stayed on with Manchester United.
After the 2006 world cup Ronaldo lead the Portugal team as a captain in a friendly match against Brazil, the match was played in the honor of the president of Portuguese Football Federation Carlos Silva, who had wished to see Ronaldo leading the team as captain.
In UEFA Euro 2008 Ronaldo once again scored 8 goals during the qualifying rounds, however failed to knock it during the actual tournament, where he could manage to score only one goal. He was named Man of the Match in group-A match against Czech Republic. Portugal was eliminated after they lost the quarter final match against Germany.
2010 World Cup saw Ronaldo being named as Man of the Match in all the three Portugal matches in group-G. However his first international (in 16 months) and the only goal of the 2010 World Cup came during the match against North Korea. Portugal was knocked out of the tournament in the round of 16 in a match against Spain.
Portugal had advanced to semi finals in UEFA Euro 2012 where they lost the match against Spain. Ronaldo was named man of the match in a final group match against Netherlands.
Ronaldo was under immense pressure during Euro 2012 where he was also the captain of the Portugal team and was criticized for his performance every now and then. However, all through the tournament Diego Maradona stated that he is “the best player on the planet” and mentioned that he has done enough for Portugal and that he deserves a monument in Lisbon.