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Ronaldo breaks silence after World Cup ouster

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CRISTIANO RONALDO posted an emotional statement after his “biggest and most ambitious dream” of winning a World Cup ended.

The 37-year-old could not inspire Portugal to quarter-final victory off the bench against Morocco.

Ronaldo, who is currently a free agent, will be 42 by the time the next World Cup kicks off.

He was in tears as he made his way down the tunnel after losing 1-0 to Morocco in the quarter-finals.

And he wrote on Instagram: “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 for Portugal, but putting the name of our country on the highest level in the world was my biggest dream.

“I fought for it. I fought hard for this dream. In the 5 presences that I scored in World Cups over 16 years, always alongside great players and supported by millions of Portuguese people, I gave my all.

“I left everything on the field. I never turned my face to the fight and I never gave up on that dream.

“Unfortunately, yesterday the dream ended. It is not worth reacting hot.

“I just want everyone to know that much has been said, much has been written, much has been speculated, but my dedication to Portugal has not changed for an instant.

“I was always one more person fighting for everyone’s goal and I would never turn my back on my teammates and my country.

“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.”

Ronaldo’s future at the top of the global game is now under serious doubt. The Portuguese was in effect forced into forcing his own Manchester United exit after being cut out of Erik ten Hag’s first team.

Meanwhile, Fernando Santos pointed to the future of the Portuguese national side in not selecting Ronaldo for either of their knockout ties at the ongoing World Cup.

Santos, explaining prior to their last-16 clash with Morocco how the conversations had gone with Ronaldo before the Switzerland fixture, said his most recognisable player was not pleased upon being told he had been dropped – in essence for the good of the team.

‘So, that conversation needed to happen,’ Santos said upon revealing he informed Ronaldo beforehand he would not be starting. ‘I don’t do that with all the players. But he’s the captain.

‘I had a conversation with Cristiano Ronaldo. We talked about the Portuguese team but the only conversation I had was before the match against Switzerland to tell him why he was going to be a substitute.

‘I told him that he was not going to start in the Round of 16. He was not happy with the conversation, as is normal. But it was a normal conversation where everyone showed their point of view

‘When a player is captain of Portugal and starts on the bench, it’s normal for him not to be happy. When I told him that I wasn’t going to play as a starter, he asked me if it was a good idea.

‘Of course he wasn’t happy. But I assure you that he never wanted to leave.’

In his post-match interview after watching his side bee eliminated by relative minnows Morocco, Santos said he did not regret not starting Ronaldo.

‘I do not regret (leaving Ronaldo on the bench),’ coach Santos told a news conference on Saturday.

‘It wouldn’t change anything, in terms of the team I can’t be thinking with my heart.

‘I used the team that played really well against Switzerland and there was no reason to change it (against Morocco).

‘The strategic decision that I had to make was one of the hardest, but I can’t think with my heart, I have to think with my head.

‘It’s not that Ronaldo is no longer a great player, that has nothing to do with it

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