It’s official: Cristiano Ronaldo did not score Portugal’s opener in their 2-0 win over Uruguay on Monday, Nov. 28, Fifa and ball manufacturer Adidas have confirmed to ESPN.
Technology in the match ball used at the 2022 World Cup proved conclusively that Ronaldo’s head did not make any contact with the ball from a whipped cross from teammate Bruno Fernandes, which landed in the bottom corner of the goal in the 54th minute of the match.
Ronaldo believed he had got the faintest of touches and celebrated the goal as his.
This was despite Fernandes being announced as the goal scorer on the big screen in the stadium.
Ronaldo was seen shrugging at that while on the pitch after his celebration.
The identity of the goal scorer was shrouded in some doubt in the aftermath of the World Cup match, with slow-motion replays seemingly casting doubt that the 37-year-old former Manchester United player actually did make the slightest of contact.
It did not help that both Fernandes and coach Fernando Santos were unable to clarify post-match if Ronaldo provided the final touch.
Speaking after being announced as Player of the Match, Fernandes admitted even he did not know whose goal it was.
“I celebrated as if it had been Cristiano’s goal,” Fernandes said in his post-match interview.
“It seemed to me that he had touched the ball. My aim was to cross the ball for him.”
“We are happy with the victory regardless of who scored. The most important thing is that we achieved our aim, which is to be in the next round.”
Goal credited to Fernandes
But Fifa has since credited the goal to Fernandes.
If Ronaldo had scored, he would have matched an impressive long-standing record.
At eight World Cup goals for Portugal, Ronaldo is one goal short of the nine goals scored by legendary former striker Eusebio, who also played for Portugal.
Ronaldo is, however, the first player to score in five World Cup tournaments.
Cutting edge tech
The cutting-edge technology is from match ball suppliers Adidas.
Adidas released a statement to put the matter to rest.
The statement provided to ESPN from Fifa on behalf of Adidas read:
In the match between Portugal and Uruguay, using the Connected Ball Technology housed in adidas’s Al Rihla Official Match Ball, we are able to definitively show no contact on the ball from Cristiano Ronaldo for the opening goal in the game
No external force on the ball could be measured as shown by the lack of ‘heartbeat’ in our measurements. The 500Hz IMU sensor inside the ball allows us to be highly accurate in our analysis.
The match ball includes technology that can provide real-time data to match officials.
Every touch made by players is captured with sensors.
The original press release back in July 2022 stated that the technology “will help inform offside situations as well as assist in detecting unclear touches thereby ultimately improving the quality and speed of VAR decision-making process”.
Top photos via Adidas