As he ran towards the corner flag with open arms on Monday, Cristiano Ronaldo thought he had tied the record of the Portuguese great Eusebio as the all-time leading goalscorer in the World Cup.
His teammates pounced on him as they celebrated with the 37-year-old, while commentators and pundits praised him for tapping Bruno Fernandes’ cross to deflect the ball past the Uruguayan goalkeeper.
Ronaldo had his second goal in as many games at the 2022 World Cup and his ninth for Portugal at World Cups. Or so we thought.
As the party atmosphere at the Lusail Iconic Stadium intensified, the stadium announcer made a surprising announcement.
In fact, the goal had been given to Fernandes, not Ronaldo.
After the game, Fernandes admitted that he thought Ronaldo had touched the ball.
“The feeling I had was that Cristiano touched the ball. He was passing the ball to him,” Fernandes told reporters, according to Reuters, after Portugal’s 2-0 win that secured their qualification to the round of 16 in Qatar.
“What matters is that we are going to go to the next round after facing a very tough opponent.”
Piers Morgan, with whom Ronaldo gave an explosive television interview ahead of the World Cup about his frustrations at Manchester United which resulted in his contract being terminated with the club, was quick to praise the Portuguese striker. tweeting: “BOOM!!!!” and tag Ronaldo with a photo of the Portuguese striker celebrating.
After Fernandes was awarded the goal, three-time British Grand Slam tennis champion Andy Murray made sure Morgan knew he had scored the wrong player. answering:: “I think @B_Fernandes8 is the Twitter user you were looking for”.
Specsavers opticians also suggested that Morgan go in for an eye exam. “It was Bruno, do you need an appointment?” it’s said.
Conceding the goal to Fernandes could always have been part of a larger cosmic plan, if Fernandes’ sons are to be believed.
“Before the game, my children told me that I was going to score two goals,” Fernandes, who scored his second from the penalty spot later on, told FIFA.
When asked about the incident, Portugal manager Fernando Santos refused to get involved, responding with a smile: “I think it was a great match, our team played very well and the rest doesn’t matter to me.”
Adidas, maker of the ball at the World Cup, said in a statement sent to CNN that its technology proved that Ronaldo did not touch the ball.
“In the match between Portugal and Uruguay, using the Connected Ball technology housed in the adidas Al Rihla Official Match Ball, we were able to definitively show that Cristiano Ronaldo had no contact with the ball for the first goal of the game,” the statement said. .
“No external force on the ball could be measured as shown by the lack of ‘heartbeat’ in the measurements. The 500 Hz IMU sensor inside the ball allows for a high level of accuracy in the analysis.”
CNN has contacted FIFA to ask if it will review its decision to award the goal to Fernandes.