In the film "Creed," Rocky Balboa famously stated, "Time beat him. Time takes everybody out. It's undefeated." These words resonate deeply when considering Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, who faced challenges in the Euro 2024 last-16 match against Slovenia on Monday. Ronaldo's emotional response, including tears and a missed penalty in extra time, captured the attention of global fans. Despite this, Portugal triumphed 3-0 in the penalty shootout, with Ronaldo scoring the first spot kick and subsequently apologizing to the crowd, his emotions overwhelming him post-match.

Ronaldo's tears conveyed more than mere disappointment; they reflected a player grappling with the realization that he was no longer the decisive force he once was. His journey to the 2022 World Cup was marked by career turbulence, yet he aimed to demonstrate his continued relevance on the global stage. However, his impact was minimal, culminating in a tearful exit from the tournament.

Under new management with Roberto Martinez, Ronaldo was entrusted with captaincy and a leadership role in Portugal's young squad, presenting a fresh opportunity at Euro 2024. Despite his illustrious career spanning over two decades, Ronaldo's performance in Germany has been underwhelming. Lacking his former speed and agility, he has yet to score in four Euro 2024 games. Against Slovenia, his efforts were unproductive, disrupting Portugal's rhythm.

At 39, Ronaldo missed a chance to become the oldest scorer in a European Championship, his penalty saved by Jan Oblak. However, Martinez's faith in him remained unshaken, and Ronaldo delivered in the shootout, keeping Portugal's hopes alive. The upcoming quarterfinal against France raises questions about the longevity of Ronaldo's international career, with the possibility of a triumphant conclusion still in the balance.