Cristiano Ronaldo has spoken out after Portugal’s elimination from the World Cup, expressing his disappointment but insisting his commitment to his country has never wavered.
Ronaldo scored in Portugal’s opening game against Ghana, but was unceremoniously dropped to the bench by head coach Fernando Santos in response to his reaction to being substituted against South Korea.
While the 37-year-old came off the bench in the quarter-final against Morocco, he was unable to make an impact as Portugal lost 1-0 to see their World Cup dreams dashed.
Ronaldo was seen walking down the tunnel at full-time in floods of tears and did not speak to the media directly after the game.
In a lengthy Instagram post, Ronaldo 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.”
Ronaldo became the first man to score at five World Cups with his goal against Ghana, but now looks certain to retire without having scored in a World Cup knockout match.
Given that he will be 41 by the time the next edition of the tournament rolls around, it seems this may have been Ronaldo’s last dance for Portugal.