Cristiano Ronaldo and his lifelong dream to win the World Cup with Portugal ended in a shock defeat against Morocco. The 37-year-old superstar most probably played his last World Cup match past Saturday.
Ronaldo’s partner Georgina Rodriguez released a heated statement blaming Fernando Santos for the loss. She criticized him for leaving the star man in the match. Portugal conceded a late first-half goal through a Diogo Costa goalkeeping howler. Ronaldo was brought in the 51st minute of the match but a stern Morocco defense stood firm against the Portuguese attack.
Many fans and critics have seen the decision to leave Cristiano out of the starting lineup as a betrayal of friendship. Fernando Santos was appointed as Portugal’s coach in 2014 and since then he has had a fantastic relationship with the Country’s star man. Cristiano had very little impact on the pitch and on the Round of 16 tie, Santos started Goncalo Ramos upfront. Ramos scored a stunning hat-trick and started again in the quarters against Morocco. However, a low and mid-block team like Morocco defended deep and played through the lines brilliantly.
Relationship Between Cristiano Ronaldo and Fernando Santos
Despite whatever happened on the pitch on Saturday, Ronaldo has refrained from saying anything about Fernando Santos. Santos was questioned heavily following the result and he said he had no regrets about the decision to not start Ronaldo. The reason to start Goncalo Ramos was purely tactical and his performance in the Switzerland match was. Santos admitted that he still thinks Ronaldo is a fantastic player and said they were unlucky not to find the back of the net.
Cristiano Ronaldo had nothing but love, admiration and respect for Fernando Santos and instead of repaying him back he benched Ronaldo in his last ever World Cup.
He didn’t deserve this. 💔
— The CR7 Timeline. (@TimelineCR7) December 11, 2022
The Euro 2016 win was the first major trophy for Portugal and they won the whole thing as the underdogs of the competition. In the final match against France, a clumsy challenge from Dimitri Payet injured Ronaldo. An extra-time ground scorcher by Eder won Portugal the tournament. Ronaldo delivered an emotional and inspirational speech thanking his teammates and all staff in the dressing room. He especially talked about Fernando Santos in high regard and may have felt hard done by his decision in this World Cup.
Is Ronaldo Retiring
The major query from worldwide soccer fans is, will Cristiano retire? Although the star man has always stated he wanted to play till he is 40. His recent and controversial interview saw his contract termination from Manchester United. The unwillingness of big clubs to sign him poses a massive question mark on his playing future.