Ronaldo's World Cup career ends in tears as Portugal crash out

By Sports Desk December 10, 2022 1214

Cristiano Ronaldo was reduced to tears as he left the World Cup stage for surely the final time after Portugal's trophy hopes were scuppered by Morocco.

The 37-year-old, who can turn his attentions towards finding a new club, came to Qatar with dreams of a glorious farewell to the tournament he has graced five times.

Morocco were having none of that narrative, though, and their 1-0 victory at Al Thumama Stadium on Saturday made them Africa's first World Cup semi-finalists.

Ronaldo's pain was obvious, and the tears flowed as he was escorted down the tunnel towards Portugal's dressing room.

He made history in Qatar by becoming the first player to score in five World Cup tournaments, having netted in each edition since 2006. That landmark goal was a penalty in the group stage against Ghana.

But for all his achievements in the game, Ronaldo will not go down as a true World Cup great. He had a sensational club career with Sporting CP, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus, and won the Euro 2016 title with Portugal, but at the World Cup he has never scored in a knockout game. He played eight games beyond the group stage but could not find the back of the net.

Ronaldo will be 41 by the time of the next World Cup, and he is fast declining as a force, so it would be fanciful to even suggest that as a target.

He has spoken about wanting to play on until Euro 2024, but even that may be pushing it, given he is no longer a first-choice selection.

Freed by Manchester United recently after a turbulent start to the second season of his second spell with the Red Devils, it remains to be seen where Ronaldo will continue his career.

Against Morocco, as versus Switzerland at the last-16 stage, Ronaldo was only a substitute. He came off the bench early in the second half of the quarter-final, with Portugal needing a goal, but had just 10 touches of the ball and one shot.

It has reached tributes time for Ronaldo's career, with the FIFA World Cup's Portuguese Twitter page posting: "A myth. A legend. A machine. Thank you @Cristiano"

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Last modified on Saturday, 10 December 2022 16:12
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