United States president Donald Trump proposed Cristiano Ronaldo as a potential future head of state for Portugal, and also suggested he could join Vladimir Putin at the World Cup final in Moscow next month.
On an official visit to the U.S., Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa met Trump in the Oval Office on Wednesday to discuss the usual serious affairs of state, and Ronaldo, information that was revealed by the official White House transcript of the conversation.
PRESIDENT REBELO DE SOUSA: But anyway, don’t forget that Portugal has the best player in the world that is called Cristiano Ronaldo.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Oh, OK.
PRESIDENT REBELO DE SOUSA: I’m sure your son knows it and —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: He knows all about him.
PRESIDENT REBELO DE SOUSA: And so — and so, don’t forget if you ever go to Russia during the championship, don’t forget Portugal is still there and wanting to win the championship.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: That’s right. They’re doing very well.
PRESIDENT REBELO DE SOUSA: Yes.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: And they say he is doing —
PRESIDENT REBELO DE SOUSA: — and doing very, very, very well.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: That’s very good. And so tell me, how good a player is he? Are you impressed?
PRESIDENT REBELO DE SOUSA: I’m very much impressed. He’s the best player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo. So in a sense — well, I think, has been a success. I do agree with you — the championship. Yeah.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah, great. No. No. I think — I think (inaudible) —
PRESIDENT REBELO DE SOUSA: No doubt about it for the world — for the world.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: So will Cristian (sic) ever run for President against you? (Laughter.) He wouldn’t win. You know he won’t
PRESIDENT REBELO DE SOUSA: President, you know — you know something — I must tell you, Portugal is not just United States.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: That’s right. That’s right.
PRESIDENT REBELO DE SOUSA: It’s a little different.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2018
Also in the conversation, Trump appeared to suggest he could attend the World Cup final in Moscow along with Putin, while praising the organisation of the current tournament.
Q Mr. President, (inaudible) to the World Cup with President Putin, the final?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yes.
Q And who are you supporting in the World Cup?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: “No, I will tell you, we fought very hard to get it here.I think they’re doing a fantastic job with the World Cup right now. It’s in Russia, and I will tell you that it’s exciting. My son loves soccer, and he loves watching the World Cup. And they have really done a fantastic job with the World Cup. It’s exciting even if you’re a non-soccer fan. I’m a soccer fan a little bit, but I don’t have much time.”
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan