DOHA – Cristiano Ronaldo exited the World Cup in tears as his Portugal side suffered a shock 0-1 quarter-final loss at the hands of Morocco on Saturday.
The former Manchester United superstar had been dropped to the bench for both of Portugal’s knockout encounters but was brought on by manager Fernando Santos with his side chasing the game after Youssef En-Nesyri’s first-half goal.
Portugal pushed hard for an equaliser throughout the second half but were unable to find the breakthrough, going closest through Pepe’s last-gasp header that went just wide of the post.
And at the final whistle Ronaldo was one of the first players to leave the pitch, being filmed in tears as he walked down the tunnel and into the dressing room.
It is yet to be seen whether the game is Ronaldo’s last for Portugal, after scoring 118 goals in 196 appearances for his country. The 37-year-old is currently without a club after his contract with United was torn up last month after he gave an explosive interview with Piers Morgan hitting out at senior members of the club’s executive.
Has failed to score in all eight of his knockout stage appearances at the World Cup (including in the third place play-off), going 570 minutes without scoring and taking 27 shots in the process.
Ronaldo has since been offered an eye-watering offer of over £150m per season to play for Al-Nassr FC in Saudi Arabia but is yet to make a decision on his next move.
Morocco are the first African side to reach the World Cup semi-finals.
“It’s really unbelievable, I’m so proud. It’s like a dream – unbelievable we’re in the semi-final.
We deserve this, 1000 per cent. How we fight, how we play, with our heart for our country for the people – it’s unbelievable. Our spirit, we have injuries, three defenders came in and how they defend, big respect. Respect everyone, the coach, the team, the staff. It was like we played at home, thank you for all the people,’ said Amrabat after the final whistle.
“It took us a long time to get into the game. The players wanted to, but they couldn’t; the players were very confident, they wanted it a lot, but the truth is that we weren’t able to show all of our game. We couldn’t make goal scoring chances. Leaving the World Cup always hurts,” remarked Portugal coach Fernando Santos.