Cristiano Ronaldo remained coy on his international future following Portugal’s exit from the World Cup over the weekend.
The European champions did not have enough to threaten Uruguay who emerged 2-1 winners in their round of 16 clash Saturday thanks to a brace from Edinson Cavani.
It marked an underwhelming end to the World Cup for Ronaldo who started his campaign in Russia with a bang.
The Portugal captain helped his side rescue a point after scoring a hattrick against Spain in a pulsating 3-3 draw before he scored the only goal in a tight contest against Morocco.
With his side leading 1-0 in the final group game against Iran, Ronaldo though, would miss a penalty which proved to be costly as the Asian side came back to draw 1-1. The result meant Portugal finished second in the group and had to face a less winnable game against Uruguay as compared to Russia.
And the Real Madrid man continued his run of never scoring in the World Cup knockout stage as he was ineffective against the South Americans, whose win will now see them take on France in the quarterfinals. Regardless, Ronaldo was happy with how their campaign went.
“I’m happy, and I’m leaving here content because things went pretty well in general,” Ronaldo said, as per BBC. “This team will continue to be one of the best in the world, with quality players, a young group, united. We’re going out with heads held high and the Portugal team will continue to win things. Generally speaking, we can be proud of our efforts.”
“I’d like to congratulate Uruguay, who scored twice, but I’d also like to praise Portugal for what they did. To my mind, Portugal played better than Uruguay. We had chances but that’s football for you: the team that scores more goals wins, which is why Uruguay are celebrating.”
Cristiano Ronaldo Cristiano Ronaldo will be 37 by the time the next World Cup arrives. In this picture, Ronaldo of Portugal reacts during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Round of 16 match between Uruguay and Portugal at Fisht Stadium in Sochi, Russia, June 30, 2018. Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images
The attention now turns to whether Ronaldo will continue to represent his country. Having attained European glory in 2016, many felt this was his last chance at possibly winning a World Cup as he would be 37 by the time the next one happens in Qatar.
It’s the same scenario for Lionel Messi, turning 35 in 2022, whose Argentina side were also sent packing earlier in the day. But Ronaldo will have a discussion on that topic for another day.
“It’s not the time to talk about the future when it comes to the players and coach,” he added. “As the captain, I’m proud of the players, the coaching team, the staff, and all the people who worked with the group to make sure everything went well.”
Portugal head coach Fernando Santos, however, hopes Ronaldo will continue to feature for the national side as he can help in the development of the country’s next generation.
“Cristiano still has a lot to give to football, and I hope he will stay to help the young players grow and develop,” Santos said after the game. “We have a team with many young players, and of course we all want him there with us.”