Cristiano Ronaldo says he won’t turn his back on his country as he criticizes reports about his behavior during the Qatar World Cup – and suggests he won’t retire from Portugal
Cristiano Ronaldo spoke for the first time since Portugal’s shock exit from the World Cup at the hands of Morocco.
Morocco became the first African – and Arab – country to reach the World Cup semi-finals, after defeating Portugal 1-0. They will play France in the quarter-finals. Ronaldo left the stage in floods of tears.
The Portuguese star was dropped to the bench for the round of 16 clash with Switzerland and then again for Friday’s quarter-final loss to Morocco.
Cristiano Ronaldo has spoken out for the first time since Portugal’s shock World Cup elimination
Speculation between the two matches indicated that Ronaldo was so unhappy with Fernando Santos’ decision that he pleaded to let him go home.
However, the former Manchester United and Real Madrid striker denied such allegations and declared his love for his country in a moving statement.
“Winning the World Cup for Portugal was the biggest and most ambitious dream of my career,” he wrote.
“Fortunately, I have won many titles of international dimension, including Portugal, but putting the name of our country on the highest foot in the world was my biggest dream.
Portugal was knocked out of the World Cup by Morocco, in the latest shock to the tournament
I fought for it. I fought so hard for this dream. In the five matches I’ve scored at World Cups over the course of 16 years, I’ve always been on the side of great players and with the support of millions of Portuguese, I’ve given my best. Leave everything in the field. I never turned my face to fight and I never gave up on that dream.
“Unfortunately the dream ended yesterday (Friday). It is not worth replying in the heat of the moment. I want you all to know that much has been said, much written, much speculated, but my dedication to Portugal has never changed. I have always been a fighter for everyone’s goal and I will not turn my back.” Never to my teammates and my country.
There isn’t much to say at the moment. Thank you, Portugal. Thank you, Qatar. The dream was beautiful while it lasted… Now, hopefully, time will be a good guide and allow each person to draw their own conclusions.
Ronaldo’s future at the top of the world game is now in serious doubt. In fact, the Portuguese had to force his team out of Manchester United after being left out of Erik ten Hag’s first team.
The Portugal coach refused to be drawn into whether or not to leave his post after his exit
Meanwhile, Fernando Santos has signaled the future of Portugal in not selecting Ronaldo for any of the knockout fixtures in the ongoing World Cup.
Santos, who explained ahead of the last-16 clash with Morocco how talks with Ronaldo went before the Switzerland game, said his most celebrated player was not pleased when he was told he had been dropped – in essence in favor of the team.
Santos said upon the revelation that he had previously told Ronaldo he would not start. I don’t do that with all players. But he’s the captain.
I had a conversation with Cristiano Ronaldo. We talked about Portugal but the only conversation I had was before the game against Switzerland to tell him why he would be a substitute.
Ronaldo was left on the bench for the Portuguese’s two knockout matches at the World Cup in Qatar
I told him he wouldn’t start in the last 16. He was not happy with the conversation, as was usual. But it was an ordinary conversation in which everyone showed their point of view.
When a player takes over the Portugal national team and starts off the bench, he’s naturally not happy. When I told him I wasn’t going to play as a junior, he asked if it was a good idea.
Of course he wasn’t happy. But I assure you, he never wanted to leave.
In his post-match interview after watching his team’s bees get sent off by his relative from Morocco, Santos said he doesn’t regret not starting Ronaldo.
“I don’t regret (leaving Ronaldo on the bench),” Santos coach Santos told a news conference on Saturday.
It wouldn’t change anything, in terms of the team I can’t think of with my heart.
I used the team that played really well against Switzerland and there was no reason to change it (against Morocco).
‘The strategic decision I had to make was one of the hardest, but I can’t think with my heart, I have to think with my head.
It’s not that Ronaldo is no longer a great player, and that has nothing to do with it.
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