Cristiano Ronaldo was left in tears as Morocco knocked out Portugal in the last-8 of the FIFA World Cup, 2022.
Ronaldo could be seen wiping away his tears while being escorted through the tunnel soon after the final whistle. While there wasn’t much time between the final whistle and Ronaldo’s walk into the tunnel, thousands of video clippings and screenshots of the incident, have ensured that the moment has been monumentally captured for eternity in the history books.
Back in September 2022, Ronaldo claimed that his ambition and hunger were at the helm of affairs, dictating him to carry on playing beyond 40. The ex-Manchester United star then went on to have an iconic interview with reputed journalist Piers Morgan. In this interview, his stance regarding retirement changed drastically. “40, I think. 40 would be a good age (to retire)” said Ronaldo, when asked about his plans after the World Cup.
Even as his contract with Manchester United was terminated mutually before heading to Qatar, controversy shrouded the five-time Ballon d’Or winner. As he was busy on national duty with Portugal at the World Cup, reports of Ronaldo joining Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr for a whopping $200 million a year contract, were pouring in from various reputed soccer journalists and media houses.
Ronaldo’s legacy was called into question. However, as Portugal exited the World Cup, the noise about Ronaldo joining the Saudi club has certainly reduced in volume.
After the game against Morocco, Ronaldo took to Instagram to voice his displeasure and extreme disappointment at Portugal’s exit from the World Cup.
In this Instagram message, Ronaldo said that it was his “dream to win the World Cup with Portugal, but now that dream has sadly come to an end.”
View this post on Instagram
Ronaldo starts by saying:
“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 for Portugal, but putting the name of our country on the highest level in the world was my biggest dream.”
Ronaldo let his emotional side get the better of him while saying:
“I fought for it. I fought hard for this dream. In the 5 presences that I scored in World Cups over 16 years, always alongside great players and supported by millions of Portuguese people, I gave my all. I left everything on the field. I never turned my face to the fight and I never gave up on that dream.
Unfortunately, yesterday the dream ended. It is not worth reacting hot. I just want everyone to know that much has been said, much has been written, much has been speculated, but my dedication to Portugal has not changed for an instant. I was always one more person fighting for everyone’s goal and I would never turn my back on my teammates and my country.
For now, there’s not much more to say. Thank you, Portugal. Thank you, Qatar. The dream was beautiful while it lasted… Now, it’s time to be a good advisor and allow each one to draw their own conclusions.”
Cristiano Ronaldo did not confirm nor deny retirement
After the game against Morocco, Ronaldo’s previous comments on retirement and his current situation have been thoroughly examined by fans and pundits online.
While the man himself has neither confirmed nor denied his retirement, the situation that he finds himself in is certainly not ideal.
Ronaldo’s agent, Jorge Mendes, has attempted to find a European suitor for Ronaldo. But the problem is, no European club can afford his wages. The other issue is that the forward positions in almost all top clubs are filled currently. Furthermore, Ronaldo will turn 38 in February 2023, meaning he will likely be 41 when the World Cup of North America arrives in 2026.
This means that the soccer legend must explore clubs outside Europe to keep his playing career alive.
We have already witnessed the retirement of some big names after World Cup exits. Eden Hazard, the former Real Madrid man, has also retired from soccer, following Belgium’s exit in the group stages.
The million-dollar question remains. Does Ronaldo have enough in his tank to soldier through till the next World Cup?
Unfortunate that one of the greatest footballers of the current generation is retiring without a world cup trophy.
Football is a cruel sport.
Keep your head up genius, #Ronaldo #Portugal pic.twitter.com/7zKrex0Arf
— Ravi Prakash Kumar (@RaviPksThakur) December 10, 2022
Whatever be the case, it has certainly hit the fans harder than they had expected.