Cristiano Ronaldo said on Monday “there’s no point in reacting in the heat of the moment”, as he responded to Portugal’s World Cup elimination in a desponent Instagram post.
Ronaldo stayed in Qatar as many of the Portugal squad returned home and landed in Lisbon on Monday AEDT.
His post did not talk about international retirement but he started Portugal’s last two matches in Qatar on the bench, a decision that provoked debate in Portugal and across the football world.
The Instagram post was accompanied by a photo showing Ronaldo, head down, trudging off the field in Doha after the 1-0 quarter-final loss to Morocco on Saturday.
It was a miserable end for the former Manchester United star.
He was in tears as he walked straight off the pitch without appearing to congratulate any of the Moroccan players and was also accosted by a pitch invader that was dragged away by security.
Cristiano Ronaldo walks down the tunnel in TEARS after Portugal out of the World Cup by Morocco 1-0pic.twitter.com/H5fH6UxgJu #Ronaldo #Morocco #FIFAWorldCup #Qatar2022— Sri Lanka Tweet 🇱🇰 (@SriLankaTweet) December 10, 2022
Cristiano Ronaldo first player off the pitch, don’t think he even noticed the pitch invader. Straight down the tunnel in tears. That’s his World Cup dream over. pic.twitter.com/oFHHQC3Oub— Daniel Taylor (@DTathletic) December 10, 2022
“To win 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,” Ronaldo wrote on Instagram.
“Let’s hope that time will be a good counsellor and allow everyone to draw their own conclusions.”
At 37, Ronaldo was playing his fifth World Cup. As soon as the final whistle blew he headed down the tunnel with tears streaming down his face.
Ronaldo is without a club after a bitter divorce from Manchester United. According to the Portuguese press, Ronaldo threatened to leave the squad after he was dropped from the starting lineup, but that was denied by coach Fernando Santos, who will soon meet with the Portuguese Football Association to discuss his own future.
“I just want everyone to know that a lot was said, a lot was written, a lot was speculated, but my dedication to Portugal didn’t change for an instant,” Ronaldo added.
“I was always one more player fighting for everyone’s goal and I would never turn my back on my teammates and my country.
“In the five World Cups I played, always alongside great players and supported by millions of Portuguese, I gave it my all. I left everything on the field. I never turned my back on the fight and I never gave up on this dream.
“Unfortunately, yesterday the dream ended. The dream was beautiful while it lasted.”
Portugal central defender Pepe was asked about his former Real Madrid club mate, as he returned on Sunday. He said Ronaldo was “fine”.
“I want to thank him, as well as all my teammates who gave their best,” said Pepe.
After President Emmanuel Macron pushed his unpopular pension bill through Parliament without a vote, demonstrations about the changes broke out again.