Cristiano Ronaldo has said his dream of winning the World Cup with Portugal is over in a cryptic post on social media, while failing to announce his retirement from international duty.
Ronaldo, 37, left the pitch in tears after Portugal lost 1-0 to Morocco in the quarter-finals on Sunday.
In his first comments after being dropped, Ronaldo said it was “time to take stock” without specifically saying whether he wanted to be available for Portugal after 19 years with the national team.
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“There is no point in reacting hastily,” Ronaldo wrote on Instagram.
“I want everyone to know that a lot has been said, a lot has been written, a lot has been speculated about, but my commitment to Portugal has not wavered for a moment.
“I was always just another (Portuguese) fighting for everyone’s goal. I would never turn my back on my teammates or my country.”
Ronaldo, who is the all-time top scorer in men’s international football with 118 goals, said his biggest dream was to take Portugal “to the highest level in the world”.
“In my five World Cup appearances over 16 years, always playing alongside great players and supported by millions of Portuguese people, I gave my all,” he wrote.
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“I left everything I had on the field.
“Unfortunately, that dream ended yesterday.
Ronaldo said he would now “let everyone draw their own conclusions”.
“For now. Not much to say. Thank you, Portugal. Thank you, Qatar. The dream was beautiful while it lasted.”
The next major tournament is the European Championship in 2024. The next World Cup will be held in the United States, Canada and Mexico in 2026, by which time Ronaldo will be 41 years old.
Ronaldo is without a club after leaving Manchester United during the World Cup following an explosive pre-tournament interview in which he criticized the manager, the board and his teammates at the English club.
His only World Cup goal was a penalty against Ghana in Portugal’s opening group game. He became the first male player to score in five World Cups.
Ronaldo started on the bench in Portugal’s last 16 games – a 6-1 win over Switzerland – and the quarter-finals.
Ahead of the Morocco game, Portugal coach Fernando Santos denied reports that Ronaldo had threatened to pull out of the World Cup after being told he would not be in the starting line-up against Switzerland.
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