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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 27 February 2024

End of Cristiano Ronaldo’s ‘beautiful’ dream

37-year-old left the field in tears after Portugal lost 1-0 to Morocco in the quarter final on Saturday

AP/PTI Doha Published 12.12.22, 03:30 AM
What lies ahead for Cristiano Ronaldo?

What lies ahead for Cristiano Ronaldo? File picture

Cristiano Ronaldo said in a cryptic social media post that his dream of winning the World Cup with Portugal has ended, while stopping short of announcing his retirement from international duty.

The 37-year-old Ronaldo left the field in tears after Portugal lost 1-0 to Morocco in the quarter final on Saturday.

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In his first comments after the elimination, Ronaldo said on Sunday that it was “time to take stock” without saying explicitly if he wants to carry on being available for Portugal after 19 years in the national team.

“There’s no point in reacting rashly,” Ronaldo wrote on Instagram. “I just want everybody to know that a lot has been said, a lot has been written, a lot has been speculated about, but my dedication to Portugal has never wavered for an instant.

“I’ve always been just one more (Portuguese) fighting for everyone’s goal. I would never turn my back on my teammates or my country.”

Ronaldo, who is the alltime leading scorer in men’s international soccer with 118 goals, said putting Portugal “on the highest level in the world” was his biggest dream.

“In my five appearances at World Cups over 16 years, always playing alongside great players and supported by millions of Portuguese, I have given my all,” he wrote. “I left everything I had on the pitch. I’ll never shrink from a battle and I have never given up on that dream.

“Unfortunately, that dream ended yesterday.” Ronaldo said he would now “let everyone draw their own conclusions.”

“For now. There’s not much else to say. Thank you, Portugal. Thank you, Qatar. The dream was beautiful as long as it lasted.”

The next major tournament is the European Championship in 2024. The next WorldCup will be held in the US, Canada and Mexico in 2026, by which time Ronaldo will be 41 years old.

Ronaldo is without a club after leaving Manchester United during the World Cup in the wake of an explosive interview before the tournament when he criticised the manager, board and his teammates at the English club.

His only goal at the WorldCup was a penalty against Ghana in Portugal’s opening group game. He became the first male player to score at five World Cups.

Ronaldo started on the bench for Portugal’s games in the last 16 — a 6-1 victory over Switzerland — and the quarterfinals.

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