Former Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo has broken his silence after Portugal exited the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
European giants and 2016 Euro champions Portugal fell to the less-fancied African side Morocco in the 2022 World Cup quarterfinals.
A first-half header by En-Nesyri was enough to bundle out the European giant as Morocco made history, becoming the first African country to reach the semifinals of the World Cup.
Much of the media spotlights have deviated from the Fernando Santos-led team to the man-of-the-moment and former Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo.
As the final whistle blew, some Portugal players heaped on the pitch with tears rolling down their cheeks.
While Cristiano Ronaldo tearfully walked off the pitch and headed down the exit tunnel following the loss.
The tears after the game was well understood. The 2022 World Cup was a significant one for Portugal’s all-time goal-scorer.
First, Ronaldo is evidently edging on the twilight of his once glittering and heroic career. It was expected this could be his last World Cup campaign.
It would have been a timely and historic feat if he had achieved his dream of winning the World Cup for his country as one of the greatest players that have graced the game of football.
Meanwhile, he has not had it rosy in his football career since the beginning of this football season. His performance has dipped to its all-time lows.
He has constantly dominated headlines for the wrong reasons and even fell out with his former club Manchester United.
In the World Cup, Ronaldo has been a shadow of himself, scoring only one goal after five matches.
He was benched twice in the tournament and subbed off twice. There were reports of training ground bust-ups and collisions with head coach Dos Santos.
A World Cup trophy would have been Cristiano Ronaldo’s best corridor from all the seeming crisis that has engulfed his career.
However, it turned out Portugal crashed out of the tournament, losing to the less fancied Moroccans in the round of 16.
The World Cup exit had ended his dream of winning the trophy at a very critical point in his football career. Hence, the pain was evident in his teary eyes as he headed off the pitch towards the exit.
The five times Ballon d’Or winner has broken his silence after that epic moment in his football career.
Taking to his social media handle, Ronaldo addressed his international future and the way forward in a lengthy and emotional statement.
Ronaldo stated that even though he has achieved many successes with clubs and his national team, winning the World Cup for his country was his biggest career dream.
He said he had fought hard to achieve that dream in all the five World Cups he appeared in and never at any point turned his face to the fight or gave up on the dream, but he also admitted that the dream sadly ended with his country’s defeat to Morocco.
Acknowledging that a lot had been said, written, and speculated about him, Ronaldo noted that his dedication to Portugal had not changed even for a moment.
He wrote, “Winning a World Cup for Portugal was the biggest and most ambitious dream of my career. Fortunately, I won many titles of international dimension, including Portugal, but putting our country’s name on the highest foot in the World was my biggest dream.
“I fought for it . I fought hard for this dream. In the 5 appearances I scored in World Cups over 16 years, always by the side of great players and supported by millions of Portuguese, I gave my all. Leave it all out on the field. I never turned my face to the fight and I never gave up on that dream. Sadly yesterday the dream ended It’s not worth reacting to heat.
“I just want you all to know that much has been said, much has been written, much has been speculated, but my dedication to Portugal has not changed not for a moment. I was always one fighting for the objective of all and I would never turn my back on my colleagues and my country.
“Not much more to say for now. Thank you Portugal. Thank you Qatar. The dream was nice while it lasted… Now, it’s hoping that the weather will be good advisor and allow each one to draw their own conclusions.”
While Portugal exited the World Cup, the bickering was about Cristiano Ronaldo and his future after the tournament.
It’s evident that Ronaldo has not decided on retiring from international football and is hoping to have a spell with the national side.
Ronaldo is one of the greatest footballers of all time. He has scored 701 club goals and 118 international goals throughout his career.
While some pundits think it is high time the five times Ballon d’Or winner comes to terms with his dwindling fortunes, Turkey international and Inter Milan midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu said Ronaldo is one of the greatest stars football has witnessed.
Posting on his Instagram page, Hakan Calhanoglu wrote;
“Nothing will change the fact that he is one of the greatest athletes in history, and he should always be respected. Being on top for 16-17 years straight requires a lot of sacrifices.”
Ronaldo is currently a free agent. There are offers from Saudi clubs for him, but it is understood he wants to play in Europe. Hence, he might have to wait untill January to land a new club.