The Portuguese, who cried when he was awarded the 2013 award at the start of this year, must have known this heading to Brazil. Going out at the group stage, having contributed nothing tangible to his side's cause, would not have helped his chances of retaining the trophy.
So in the 95th minute of his side's game with the US, with Portugal on the verge of going out of the tournament after their talisman had endured two difficult games, Ronaldo produced one of the best crosses you will ever see to allow Silvestre Varela to head home a late, dramatic equaliser.
On the receiving end of that moment of brilliance were the United States, who had been on the verge of qualifying for the last-16 right up until that moment. Instead they now have to get at least a draw in their final group game against Germany to be sure of that achievement, something that is by no means guaranteed.
The US coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, responded to the result in textbook fashion; He switched focus to the game ahead, in the process trying to forge a siege mentality among his no-doubt despondent players.
"We're already thinking about Germany," Klinsmann told reporters. "We have one less day to recover.
"They played yesterday. We played today. We played in the Amazon. They played in place where you don't have to travel so much. Things are set up for the big teams to move on."
Despite all that, the odds still favour the US. If Portugal and Ghana draw in their meeting, then Klinsmann's side are through regardless of their own result. But, having had one foot in the knockout rounds already, it might be difficult to rebound in positive fashion. Ronaldo can have that effect.
Earlier in the day, Belgium succeeded where the US failed—scoring in the closing minutes to book their place in the knockout stages. Divock Origi, 19, was the hero of the hour, in the process becoming the youngster player since a certain Lionel Messi to score a goal at the World Cup. Talk about big shoes to fill.
by BR / www.FlagWigs.com