Cristiano Ronaldo has become the first European player in history to make 50 appearances at major tournaments.

The Portugal captain hit the impressive landmark in their Group F encounter against Georgia at Euro 2024 on Wednesday.

Ronaldo made his major tournament debut at Euro 2004, helping hosts Portugal on their run to the final before the shock defeat to Greece, and has been an ever-present in Euros and World Cup action since.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner eventually got his hands on an elusive Euros trophy in 2016, winning his first major tournament honour with the national side.

Ronaldo is no stranger to making history and has already broken records at this tournament – playing in his sixth European Championship aged 39.

Despite not scoring at Euro 2024 heading into the final group matchday, Ronaldo's assist for Bruno Fernandes in Portugal's 3-0 victory over Turkiye was his seventh in the competition, the most by any player.

 

Ronaldo is already the record appearance-maker at the Euros, with his start against Georgia his 28th game in the competition.

Only two outings have been from the bench, with both coming at the start of Euro 2004 – he scored his debut goal in the competition as a substitute in a 2-1 defeat to Greece in Portugal's opener.

That was the first of his record 14 goals – scored from 146 shots – in the European Championships, five more than France great Michel Platini, whose nine goals all came at Euro 1984.

The delayed 2020 edition was an individual best as Ronaldo scored five goals to win the Golden Boot award for the first time, sharing it with Czechia's Patrik Schick.

Though Portugal's all-time leading goalscorer has always proved a threat to any goalkeeper, he has also created 46 chances (including assists), managing five of those in the opening two matches of this edition.

 

Though a European Championship trophy added to Ronaldo's impressive career haul, the veteran forward has still not managed to get his hands on the World Cup.

The closest the 39-year-old came to lifting the illustrious Jules Rimet trophy remains when he made the first of his 22 appearances in Germany in 2006, helping Portugal to fourth place.

Like at the Euros, only two of his appearances at the World Cup have been off the bench, but those came in the most recent edition as Portugal were knocked out of Qatar 2022 by Morocco in the quarter-finals.

Over the course of five World Cups, the former Real Madrid star has scored eight goals from 102 shots, but only in one edition has he found the back of the net more than once (2018 – four).

Yet FIFA's top prize will not be on his mind now as Ronaldo and Roberto Martinez's men eye European glory.

Kylian Mbappe hailed the "carefree" mindset of the new France generation as the forward eyes surpassing Michel Platini on Les Bleus' all-time scoring charts.

The Paris Saint-German superstar scored twice in his first game as France captain as Didier Deschamps' side hammered the Netherlands 4-0 to kickstart their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign on Friday.

That double took the 24-year-old striker to 38 goals in 67 appearances for his country, just three international strikes short of Platini, who sits fourth in France's leading scorers chart.

Antoine Griezmann (43), Thierry Henry (51) and Olivier Giroud (53) are the only three to manage more and Mbappe is out to catch Platini when Deschamps' men visit the Republic of Ireland on Monday.

He said at Sunday's pre-match press conference: "It's an honour but it's also the next target to beat.

"Platini remains a legend of French football but I want to continue my journey and it goes through Michel Platini."

France fell agonisingly short at the World Cup in Qatar, losing on penalties to Argentina in the final, but the future appears incredibly bright for Les Bleus.

Deschamps has the likes of Aurelien Tchouameni and Edouard Camavinga in midfield, while Randal Kolo Muani provides support for Mbappe up top.

Centre-back pairing Ibrahima Konate and Dayot Upamecano are yet to reach their 25th birthdays and Mbappe says he is relishing leading a youthful France.

"I don't know all the generations. This one is carefree," he added. "We always have this desire to show that we can do good things.

"This team can aim for the heights. In adversity, we will see other things. We had a first match that we made easy. We will see in due time.

"Maybe there will be more difficult moments and I hope that we can overcome them."

As for the captaincy, Mbappe suggested little has changed despite taking the armband from the retired Hugo Lloris.

He continued: "I was the same, I naturally played my new role. There was not much to say in relation to the team's performance. I'm not going to talk just to talk.

"I was the link between the two generations but there were no differences during the week. The group is doing very well, I did not have to intervene. The less work I have, the better for everyone.

"We must not get carried away and we have started qualifying well. Tomorrow's match will be more complicated than what people may think."

Michel Platini is feeling a sense of "pride" at seeing France in another World Cup final and is firmly behind Les Bleus on their march towards history, his lawyer has said.

Although he was a European Championship winner with France in 1984, the golden generation to which Platini belonged could not add global glory to that title.

They stalled in the semi-finals of the 1982 and 1986 World Cups, losing out to West Germany both times.

Platini was an organising committee chief when France won the World Cup on home soil in 1998, but by the time of their triumph at Russia 2018 he was serving a ban from football over ethics violations during his time as UEFA president.

Now 67, Platini has recently kept a mostly low profile.

His lawyer, Najwa El Haite, said Platini remained engrossed in France's footballing fortunes.

"He is of course closely following the performance of the France team," she told French broadcaster BFMTV.

"There is a pride, he was very happy yesterday.

"He is not on social networks, he does not communicate, but he is present and fully supports the France team."

France are bidding to become the first team since Brazil in 1958 and 1962 to win consecutive editions of the World Cup.

El Haite is a French-Moroccan citizen, and she may have had split loyalties for Wednesday's semi-final as France beat Morocco 2-0 to set up a clash with Argentina for the trophy on Sunday.

She explained how Platini had also been charmed by the Atlas Lions during their surprising run, which saw them become the first African team to reach a World Cup semi-final.

"A few days ago, he called me, when Morocco were playing against Portugal. I was honoured that he called me to tell me, 'The Moroccan team played well, congratulations to them'," El Haite said.

"This morning, he sent me a message saying, 'They lost but they played well, I will support them on Saturday [in the third-place game] against Croatia'."

Switzerland's attorney general has launched an appeal against the acquittals of Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini, the former presidents of FIFA and UEFA respectively.

Blatter and Platini were cleared of all charges against them following a trial at the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona, with that outcome being announced in July.

They had been charged with fraud and other offences by Swiss authorities relating to a payment of 2million Swiss francs made by Blatter to Platini in 2011.

For Blatter, there were charges of fraud, misappropriation, criminal mismanagement and forgery of a document. Platini had been charged with fraud, participating in misappropriation, participating in criminal mismanagement and forgery of a document.

Both men had denied any wrongdoing and the court found in their favour.

However, the matter is not yet over, as prosecutors are challenging the court's ruling.

In a statement, the Office of the Attorney General announced it had requested for the judgement to be overturned.

It said: "We confirm that the Office of the Attorney General has appealed to the Appeals Chamber of the Federal Criminal Court within the statutory period and has applied for the full annulment of the first-instance judgement."

The statement continued: "No further information is given on the content of the declaration of appeal. The presumption of innocence applies to all those involved in the proceedings."

Karim Benzema will need to perform well for France at the upcoming World Cup to "justify his status" as Ballon d'Or winner, claims Michel Platini.

Benzema finished a career-best 2021-22 season with 44 goals, while adding 15 assists as he helped fire Real Madrid to a LaLiga and Champions League double.

The 34-year-old's stunning campaign was enough to see off the likes of Robert Lewandowski and Sadio Mane to win his first Ballon d'Or, having previously been nominated 10 times without taking home the trophy.

But Platini, who won Ballon d'Or awards in three consecutive years between 1983 and 1985, believes there is now more pressure on Benzema to perform at the World Cup in Qatar, starting next month.

"He reached the grail with the Ballon d'Or," Platini told RMC Sport. "He has a big responsibility being the best player in the world and the World Cup is coming up.

"He will have to be on top to justify his status."

Benzema returned from a six-year exodus with the national team for Euro 2020, scoring four goals in four appearances as France crashed out at the round of 16 stage.

He will hope to help Les Blues defend their World Cup crown, beginning with their opening group match against Australia on November 22, though Platini believes Benzema is already well on his way to becoming a France footballing icon.

"Benzema is becoming a legend of French football," Platini added. "Winning a Ballon d'Or brings you into the ranks of great footballers."

Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini have been acquitted of all charges against them following a trial at the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona.

The former presidents of FIFA and UEFA respectively were last year charged with fraud and other offences by Swiss authorities relating to a payment of 2million Swiss francs made by Blatter to Platini in 2011.

For Blatter, there were charges of fraud, misappropriation, criminal mismanagement and forgery of a document. Platini had been charged with fraud, participating in misappropriation, participating in criminal mismanagement and forgery of a document.

Both men had denied any wrongdoing and the court found in their favour on Friday.

Blatter was awarded CHF 82,000 to cover his defence costs and CHF 20,000 in compensation. Platini received CHF 143,000.

A statement from Platini, reported by Reuters, read: "I want to express my happiness for all my loved ones that justice has finally been done after seven years of lies and manipulation.

"The truth has come to light during this trial. I kept saying it: my fight is a fight against injustice. I won a first game."

Blatter, who was at the court on Friday, had said: "I am not innocent in my life, but in this case I am innocent."

Sepp Blatter has denied approving fraudulent payments to Michel Platini while he was president of FIFA, saying the cash transfer was a "gentleman's agreement" between the pair.

Blatter and Platini were last year charged with fraud and other offences by Swiss authorities relating to a payment of 2million Swiss francs made by world football's governing body to the ex-UEFA chief in 2011.

The trial at the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona was due to start on Wednesday, but Blatter was unable to attend as he was suffering from chest pains.

Blatter provided his testimony on Thursday, stating he asked former France captain Platini to work for FIFA as an advisor when he was elected as president in 1998.

The 86-year-old said the governing body could not afford the CHF 1m per year Platini asked for but agreed to pay him CHF 300,000 a year, with the remaining cash to be settled up at a later date.

Blatter said in court: "I knew when we started with Michel Platini that is not the total, and we would look at it later,"

He stated that they shook hands on a "gentleman's agreement".

Blatter added: "It was an agreement between two sportsmen. I found nothing wrong with that."

Platini said: "I trusted the president and knew he would pay me one day."

The 66-year-old Platini told the court he did not need the money he was owed when he stopped working for FIFA in 2002, a time when Blatter claimed the governing body was "broke".

It was not until January 2011 he asked FIFA to pay up after hearing two former employees had received substantial payments, and Platini revealed he was paid 10 days after sending an invoice, with Blatter approving the transfer.

Blatter was originally banned from footballing activities for eight years, reduced to six, by FIFA in 2015 following an Ethics Committee investigation that described the payment as "disloyal". Platini was also given an eight-year suspension, which was later reduced.

Swiss Blatter has been charged with fraud, misappropriation, criminal mismanagement and forgery of a document. Platini has been charged with fraud, participating in misappropriation, participating in criminal mismanagement and forgery of a document.

Both Blatter and Platini deny any wrongdoing. The case continues.

The trial of former FIFA president Sepp Blatter and ex-UEFA president Michel Platini has been delayed by a day after the former said he was too ill to testify.

Blatter and Platini were set to begin their court appearance at the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona on Wednesday, with both men facing fraud charges.

Judges however have allowed a one-day postponement after Blatter reported he was suffering from chest pains.

The duo were banned from football in 2015 over corruption claims and were indicted in November last year by Swiss prosecutors.

It is claimed that a payment of 2 million Swiss francs (£1.6m) made by Blatter to Platini in 2011 was unlawful.

Both men deny wrongdoing.

Nancy will lose their fully professional status for the first time after fan protests resulted in relegation from Ligue 2.

France great Michel Platini made his name at Nancy, who have been an ever-present in France's top two tiers since becoming a professional side in 1967.

However, they will play in the third tier next season after their relegation from Ligue 2 was confirmed.

Playing against fellow strugglers Quevilly Rouen on Friday, Nancy needed a positive result to keep their chances of survival alive, yet a fan protest against the club's owners – Pacific Media Group (PMG) – resulted in the match being called off due to security concerns, with smoke bombs having been thrown onto the pitch.

Quevilly were therefore handed a 3-0 victory and three points, confirming Nancy's drop out of the professional leagues. 

They last played in Ligue 1 in 2016-17, though had been ever-present in the top flight between 1996 and 2013.

It marked a dark day for PMG, which owns multiple clubs in Europe. Indeed, elsewhere on Friday, Barnsley, another team backed by the American-Chinese consortium, were relegated from the Championship to League One.

Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter and ex-UEFA boss Michel Platini will go on trial facing corruption charges in June, Switzerland's Federal Criminal Court (FCC) has confirmed.

The pair were last year charged with fraud and other offences by Swiss authorities relating to a payment made in 2011.

Switzerland's attorney general's office (OAG) published an indictment following an investigation that began in 2015.

Both men "are accused of unlawfully arranging a payment of CHF2million from FIFA to Michel Platini", the OAG said at the time.

The date for the trial to start has now been set for June 8, with proceedings set to last until June 22.

The case centres on a payment made by FIFA to Platini in 2011, authorised by Blatter, which the OAG alleges "was made without a legal basis".

The indictment alleges that Platini demanded this CHF2million payment more than eight years after his work as a consultant for Blatter between 1999 and 2002 had come to an end, and that it "damaged FIFA's assets and unlawfully enriched Platini".

According to the indictment, Platini had allegedly been paid by FIFA an annual fee of CHF300,000 for his consultancy work. This amount had been agreed upon in a written contract, the indictment said.

Blatter was originally banned from footballing activities for eight years, reduced to six, by FIFA in 2015 following an Ethics Committee investigation that described the payment as "disloyal". Platini was also given an eight-year suspension.

Both Blatter and Platini have denied any wrongdoing, with the former FIFA president stating there was a "gentleman's agreement" over the payment.

Blatter has been charged with fraud, misappropriation, criminal mismanagement and forgery of a document. Platini has been charged with fraud, participating in misappropriation, participating in criminal mismanagement and forgery of a document.

Lionel Messi must accept criticism at Paris Saint-Germain after supporters turned on the Argentine great, according to Michel Platini.

Platini, who has told Kylian Mbappe to follow his dreams when his contract expires at the end of the season, believes PSG have built "a great club" under their Qatari ownership.

But he questioned whether the acquisition of a string of superstar names is the best way to construct a successful team, and sympathised with Messi, who has endured a tough first campaign in Paris.

A Ligue 1 title is practically assured, but defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League last-16 stage, from a 2-0 aggregate advantage, has stung PSG, while also delighting the club's critics.

There are critics within the ranks of the club's supporters, too, with Messi and Neymar among the players who faced loud whistling from fans at the first league game following the exit from Europe.

Former France superstar Platini knows Messi will have been affected by the whistles.

"He also understands them, but it hurts," Platini told RMC Sports. "I, too, was whistled at the Parc des Princes. But I was never whistled either at Saint-Etienne or at Juventus."

Although Platini never played for PSG, the club's home ground staged France internationals during his time as a player and coach of the national team.

"One has the right to whistle. The customer is king," Platini added. "I wouldn't do it. Everyone has the right to whistle, to insult. The football field is an outlet. Leo came to please Paris. Maybe there were other teams that wanted him. It's very hard."

Asked whether Messi made a mistake by joining PSG when Barcelona could not afford to retain him, Platini said: "He does what he wants. It is true that he is the child of Barcelona as Ronaldo was the child of Madrid. They decided to leave.

"I can put myself in their place. When I left Juve, I stopped. I was 32 years old. Barcelona and OM [Marseille] wanted me. It's complicated for a player like Leo, when you reach 34, you know you're worth a lot. But are you going to play as well as in the past?

"Lionel chose to have a new challenge. It is good for French football that he came to play in France. But he will never play as well as he did five, six years ago."

With nine rounds of games remaining, PSG lead second-placed Marseille by 12 points in Ligue 1, so silverware is coming, but the PSG of next season could be strikingly different to the current side.

Mbappe may see out his contract and leave for Real Madrid, Messi's future is beginning to look uncertain, and many would be surprised if head coach Mauricio Pochettino stays in charge.

Messi has just two Ligue 1 goals this season and seven strikes across all competitions, and Barcelona have not closed the door on the possibility of a Camp Nou comeback for their greatest ever player.

"It's hard to do better than what they did," Platini said. "They have a Messi-Neymar-Mbappe forward line. If by putting three of the best players in the world, you don't win, what should you do? Maybe have more in-depth thinking about how to play rather than taking names."

PSG continue to await Mbappe's next move. They hope he will agree to a new contract and stay, but Madrid have made their interest perfectly clear, and a fresh start at the Santiago Bernabeu holds obvious appeal.

Since arriving from Monaco as an 18-year-old in August 2017, Mbappe has scored 158 goals for PSG and added 70 assists, with his goals coming at a rate of over every 104.22 minutes. Only Robert Lewandowski (223), Messi (169) and Ronaldo (162) have scored more over the same period.

Mbappe has hit seven hat-tricks and 31 doubles, and is by far and away the leader when it comes to goals from fast breaks, netting 32 in such a manner, 15 ahead of the nearest challenger, Liverpool's Mohamed Salah.

"He must do what he dreams of, what he wants to do," Platini said.

"We have experienced 15 extraordinary years with two exceptional players who have won everything, Ronaldo and Messi. He is in pole position for the future. The future is in front of him, he can win everything. He is the player who should be the future big star for years to come.

"He is the best French player currently. He has everything to be the best, to be [winner of the] Ballon d'Or several times."

Former FIFA officials Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini have been charged with fraud and other offences by Swiss authorities relating to a payment made in 2011.

Switzerland's attorney general's office (OAG) published an indictment on Tuesday following an investigation that began in 2015.

Both men "are accused of unlawfully arranging a payment of CHF2million from FIFA to Michel Platini", the OAG said.

Former FIFA president Blatter and ex-UEFA president Platini are now set to face a hearing before Switzerland's Federal Criminal Court (FCC).

The case centres on a payment made by FIFA to Platini in 2011, authorised by Blatter, which the OAG alleges "was made without a legal basis".

The indictment alleges that Platini demanded this CHF2million payment more than eight years after his work as a consultant for Blatter between 1999 and 2002 had come to an end, and that it "damaged FIFA's assets and unlawfully enriched Platini".

According to the indictment, Platini had allegedly been paid by FIFA an annual fee of CHF300,000 for his consultancy work. This amount had been agreed upon in a written contract, the indictment said.

Blatter was originally banned from footballing activities for eight years, reduced to six, by FIFA in 2015 following an Ethics Committee investigation that described the payment as "disloyal". Platini was also given an eight-year suspension.

Each man denied wrongdoing, with Blatter insisting there was a "gentleman's agreement" over the payment.

Blatter has been charged with fraud, misappropriation, criminal mismanagement and forgery of a document. Platini has been charged with fraud, participating in misappropriation, participating in criminal mismanagement and forgery of a document.

Cristiano Ronaldo thanked his Portugal team-mates for helping him to surpass Michel Platini as the European Championship's outright all-time record goalscorer with his double against Hungary.

The 36-year-old scored a penalty late on in Tuesday's Group F clash to move one in front of Platini – who netted all nine of his goals in the 1984 edition – at the top of the competition's scoring charts.

He added to his tally in added time as Portugal, who opened the scoring through Raphael Guerreiro's 84th-minute strike in Budapest, became the first team in the history of the Euros to score three goals in the final 10 minutes of a game.

Ronaldo is also the first man to play and score in five separate European Championships and now has an even greater record in sight, the Juventus forward just three shy of Ali Daei's world record of 109 international goals.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner will have an opportunity to close in on Daei's impressive tally when Portugal take on Germany in Munich in their next group outing on Saturday.

Speaking after Portugal's late win against Hungary in front of around 61,000 spectators – the most at any game at this year's tournament – Ronaldo said: "It was important to win. It was a difficult game. 

"Hungary defended very well for 90 minutes. We managed to score three goals and I am very grateful to the team for helping me to score twice and collect the man of the match award. 

"It was essential to go in with the right foot to give confidence. Now we have to just keep going, keep going. We will look to win the next game."

 

It looked like being a day of frustration for reigning European champions Portugal before a late flurry of goals gave them their joint-record margin of victory at the Euros, alongside 3-0 wins against Croatia in 1996 and Germany in 2000.

Head coach Fernando Santos was pleased with the way his side adapted to overcome their stubborn opponents as Portugal won their first game at a major tournament for the first time in six attempts.

"They kept putting two or three players on top of Cristiano," he told SIC Noticias. "Our strategy was not to cross, cross, cross. We had to look for different paths and we scored a goal, then Hungary started opening up some space.

"If we had scored earlier it might have been easier for us. We had chances to score but didn't, which caused a small period of anxiety, though we recovered well in the end by scoring the goals.

"It was a case of making Ronaldo more open because Guerreiro was getting stuck. Now we have two important games to come and we will try our best to get through this stage."

Hungary came within six minutes of taking a point off Portugal, but they are now winless in their past four games at the European Championship and have matches against France and Germany to come in an extremely tough group.

"I'm disappointed with the result," Hungary coach Marco Rossi said at his post-match news conference. "There wasn't much difference between the two teams. We didn't have luck today. 

"But we have to show that we're men. We are representing Hungary and we have two more equally difficult games ahead of us.

"We were happy with the game until the 83rd minute, but then the three goals came. Maybe it was my fault for taking too much risk. I'm not sad about the performance, but disappointed with the result."

Cristiano Ronaldo is now the all-time leading goalscorer in European Championship history after netting in Portugal's Euro 2020 opener against Hungary.

Ronaldo went into the tournament level with France great Michel Platini but his penalty late on in Budapest to move his side 2-0 ahead put him out in front.

The Juventus star was making his 22nd European Championship appearance. Platini needed just five games to reach his nine-goal haul, all of which came at Euro 84.

Ronaldo has other records in his sights at this tournament as well.

His spot-kick against Hungary has taken him to within two of Miroslav Klose's record (19) for the most goals scored by a European player at the World Cup and Euros.

Though arguably even greater than that is the fact Ronaldo is now just four behind Ali Daei's world record of 109 international goals, the Iranian scoring those in a 13-year period from 1993.

 

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