Ronaldo accepts World Cup dream is over – but no definitive decision made over Portugal future


Portugal exited Qatar 2022 to Morocco on Saturday in what has now been confirmed as being Cristiano Ronaldo’s final World Cup match.

Cristiano Ronaldo accepts his “most ambitious dream” of winning the World Cup with Portugal is over, but has held off from making a definitive call over his international future.

Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo left the pitch in tears on Saturday after Portugal’s shock 1-0 quarter-final loss to Morocco at the Al Thumama Stadium.

The 37-year-old made history for Qatar by becoming the first player to score at five separate World Cups, netting at each edition since 2006.

But that breakthrough goal – a penalty against Ghana in Portugal’s opening group game – proved a rare highlight in a tournament that ended in frustration and heartbreak.

Ronaldo lost his place in the team and was a second-half substitute in the last 16 win over Switzerland and the quarter-final loss to Morocco.

He did not discuss his future after the game, but the free agent confirmed on social media on Sunday that he will not be taking part in the next World Cup.

“Winning the World Cup for Portugal was the biggest and most ambitious dream of my career,” he wrote on Instagram.

“Fortunately, I won many titles of an international dimension, including for Portugal, but getting our country’s name to the highest world level was my biggest dream.

“I fought for it. I fought hard for this dream. I gave my all in the five tournaments I scored in over 16 years, alongside great players and supported by millions of people.

“I left everything on the field. I never turned to fight and I never gave up on that dream. Unfortunately, that dream ended yesterday.”

Ronaldo is also Portugal’s most capped player (196) and all-time record scorer (118).

He is currently without a club after his contract with Manchester United ended by mutual consent last month.

There have been suggestions that he will call time on his international career after Qatar 2022, but the former Real Madrid player will wait before making a formal decision.

“It’s no use reacting hotly,” he said. “Much has been said, much has been written, much has been speculated about, but my devotion to Portugal has not changed for a moment.

“I was always the other guy who fought for everyone’s cause and I would never turn my back on my teammates and my country.

“Not much to say yet. Thank you, Portugal. Thank you, Qatar. The dream was beautiful while it lasted.”

“Now is the time to be a good counselor and let everyone draw their own conclusions.”

While Ronaldo fell short in his quest to win the World Cup with Portugal, he was involved in his country’s Euro 2016 triumph and Nations League success three years ago.

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