Cristiano Ronaldo aka “The Rocket of Madeira” witnessed a dramatic ending as Portugal exited the quarter-finals following a defeat by an impressive Moroccan team. The 37-year-old footballer was in tears as his chances to win the tournament for the first time in his career were shattered by the Atlas Lions on Saturday. After the match, Ronaldo was escorted by a member of staff from the pitch at the Al Thumama Stadium to the dressing room immediately after the defeat.
In the stands, Georgina Rodriguez (Cristiano Ronaldo’s girlfriend) was seen fuming at Portugal’s Manager Fernando Santos for ‘underestimating’ her partner and saying ‘he changed everything’ despite just 10 touches in the match. After the match, Rodriguez expressed on Instagram that Santos got it wrong during Portugal’s defeat.
“Today your friend and coach decided wrong. That friend for whom so many words of admiration and respect you have. The same as when you got into the game, he saw how everything changed, but it was too late. You can’t underestimate the best player in the world and his most powerful weapon. Nor can you stand up for someone that he doesn’t deserve it. Life gives us lessons. Today we have not lost, we have learned. Cristiano, we admire you.”Georgina Rodriguez via Instagram
Ronaldo caused some criticism throughout the group-stage matches before the game against Morocco. For instance, the striker caused a stir after Portugal’s 2-1 loss to South Korea in their final group match when he made the ‘shh’ gesture by raising his finger to his lips as he was being substituted. Later on, though, he clarified that it was meant for a South Korean player who had been admonishing Ronaldo to “leave the pitch immediately” when he was brought off. Then he was a substitute during Portugal’s round-of-16 match against Switzerland. Ronaldo never entered the field, but they still managed to win 6-1.
We have to acknowledge that Ronaldo’s recent contract termination from Manchester United, which was revealed just after the World Cup began, and his benching by Santos may have overshadowed Ronaldo’s time at Qatar 2022, a tournament in which he only managed to score one goal.
The Portuguese player’s retirement from football is the subject of some rumors that have been spreading across numerous online platforms since his World Cup elimination. We were unable to confirm or refute it at the time, but Goal.com noting that he may have indirectly declared his retirement in a post on Sunday following the heartbreaking World Cup loss to Morocco.
In the post, Ronaldo asserted that “winning a World Cup for Portugal was the biggest and most ambitious dream of my career. Fortunately, I won many titles of international dimension, including Portugal, but putting our country’s name on the highest foot in the World was my biggest dream. For now, there’s not much more to say. Thank you, Portugal. Thank you, Qatar. The dream was beautiful while it lasted… Now, it’s time to be a good advisor and allow each one to draw their own conclusions.”
Other reports suggest that Ronaldo wants to be at Euro 2024 and is not planning to retire from Football anytime soon.
The Rocket of Madeira will be looking to get back to football as quickly as possible; though it is still unclear where he will be playing next, some rumors suggest he will remain in the Middle East with Al-Nassr Club. With his age, his options are very limited in Europe but we will soon find out when the transfer window in January opens up.
With his 196th appearance in this World Cup, Ronaldo tied Kuwait’s Bader Al-Mutawa for the most caps in men’s international football history. His 118 international goals are an all-time record for men’s football and more than double those of Pauleta, Portugal’s second-highest scorer with 47. Additionally, he scored a penalty in their group-stage victory over Ghana last month to make history by becoming the first player to score in five different World Cups.
Ronaldo amassed the most goals in the history of the UEFA Champions League (UCL) during his club career and is the only player to have scored 15 or more goals in each of the top five leagues in Europe each year since 2006. After Messi won his sixth Ballon d’Or, Ronaldo has the second-most Ballon d’Ors in history.
Although Cristiano Ronaldo’s future is still uncertain, he has the extraordinary ability to draw the attention of people from all over the world wherever he goes. Whether his next step in his career is in Europe or the Middle East, Ronaldo will undoubtedly end it with more success and achievements.