Portugal was eliminated from the 2022 World Cup by Morocco in the quarterfinals on Saturday, and Cristiano Ronaldo was seen leaving the field in tears. For the 37-year-old Ronaldo, it was possibly his final World Cup game and last opportunity to take home football’s top honor. When it counted most, he was unable to summon the soccer magic that has elevated him to the ranks of the game’s best players. For top sports betting fiesta, check out CasinoDaddy!
On Saturday, Ronaldo was benched from the starting lineup for the second straight game. The five-time player of the year entered as a replacement in the second half with his side already down, but the opposition goalie easily denied him of his only serious opportunity. In the end, Morocco defeated the Portuguese 1-0 to go to the semifinals of the competition as the first African team.
On the day of his 196th international appearance, which tied him with Kuwait forward Badr Al-Mutawa for the most in men’s soccer, Ronaldo experienced a terrible ending. He departs Qatar as the lone player to score in five World Cups, although he still has eight goals left in the competition, one fewer than Eusébio’s mark with Portugal.
Ronaldo, who has 118 goals overall in men’s international soccer, avoided questions about his future after the game and instead walked directly to the team bus from the locker room. Eight years after he assisted Portugal to win its lone international championship at Euro 2016, he had stated before the World Cup that he had no plans to leave the national team and that he intended to play at least until the 2024 European Championship in Germany.
When Portugal played Switzerland in the round of 16, Ronaldo was initially benched and only made one substitute appearance. Gonçalo Ramos, who took his place in that game, grabbed a hat trick in the 6-1 triumph.
On Saturday, Ramos was again chosen over Ronaldo.
Fernando Santos, the Portugal coach, claimed he had no regrets about benching Ronaldo. “Cristiano is a great player, he came in when we thought it was necessary. We have no regret.”
In the 51st minute, Portugal’s Pepe handed Ronaldo the captain’s armband, and Ronaldo sprinted onto the field to rally his squad. As the clock ticked down, he lifted his arms to the Portugal supporters, who were much outnumbered by the Moroccans, and pleaded for their help. 18bet is just one of the great casinos we offer and it’s must to play at!
Ronaldo contributed to stepping up Portugal’s offense, which had trouble breaking through the well-prepared Moroccan defense. With a cross into the area, he instantly generated a chance but lost control shortly after. In the 82nd, he again provided a shot for Joo Félix, but the effort by his teammate was blocked. Then, in stoppage time, Ronaldo took that desperate shot that posed no genuine threat.
After the final whistle, Ronaldo swiftly left the field and by the time he entered the tunnel leading to the locker rooms, he was in tears. Ronaldo has never scored in the World Cup knockout stage.
He was comforted by a few Moroccan players, but no Portugal teammates were around as he left. The majority of them remained on the pitch at Al Thumama Stadium and expressed gratitude to the Portuguese supporters.
What looked to be a fan attempted to approach Ronaldo as he approached the sideline but was promptly removed.
Then, probably for the final time, Santos patted Ronaldo on the back as he passed.
After Santos voiced his displeasure with his team captain’s demeanor in the previous match against South Korea, Ronaldo was not included in the starting lineup against the Swiss. Ronaldo was “not happy” to hear he was being benched, according to Santos, but he never threatened to withdraw from the World Cup as a result of the decision.
Although he scored in the 3-2 victory over Ghana to become the first player to score in five World Cups, Ronaldo was coming off of some underwhelming performances in the group stage. Since 2006, he has participated in each tournament iteration.
Ronaldo’s elimination from the World Cup comes at the conclusion of a difficult few weeks that began with a contentious interview with Piers Morgan and the aftermath that led to the termination of his contract with Manchester United and rumors of a transfer to the Saudi club Al Nassr.
Portugal, who placed third in 1966 and fourth in 2006, was attempting to reach the World Cup semifinals for the third time. Since the competition in Germany sixteen years prior, the squad hadn’t advanced past the round of 16.
In four years, in the North American World Cup of 2026, there will be another opportunity to hoist the golden trophy, but most likely without Cristiano Ronaldo on the roster.