Cristiano Ronaldo was left in tears as he departed the pitch in the wake of Portugal’s elimination from the 2022 World Cup at the hands of Morocco.
The free agent striker was again benched as he was in the Selecao’s victory over Switzerland in the last 16, though he got more minutes after his side went behind just before half time through Youssef En-Nesyri’s header.
Ronaldo was introduced in the 51st minute but there was to be no classic grandstand finish for the 37-year-old, who saw his only opportunity well saved by Atlas Lions goalkeeper Bono.
While there were scenes of jubilation from Morocco’s players and supporters as they celebrated a deserved and famous win, becoming the first African and Arab side ever to reach the World Cup semi finals, the flip-side saw distraught Portugal players being consoled, while Ronaldo was cried over the result.
Speculation will increase over the Portugal forward’s future following the elimination. He is currently without a club and will be into his 40s by the time the next World Cup rolls around.
Ronaldo did become the first men’s player to score in five separate World Cup tournaments with his penalty against Ghana, though he has struggled to make an impact at the tournament in general throughout his career.
His Portugal side finished fourth in 2006 but only won three games across the 2010, 2014 and 2018 editions, resulting in two last-16 eliminations and a group stage exit. 2018 saw them bested by Uruguay in the last 16.