DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo said in a cryptic social media post that his dream of winning the World Cup with Portugal has ended, while stopping short of announcing his retirement from international duty.
The 37-year-old Ronaldo left the field in tears after Portugal lost 1-0 to Morocco in the quarterfinals on Saturday.
In his first comments after the elimination, Ronaldo said Sunday that it was “time to take stock” without saying explicitly if he wants to carry on being available for Portugal.
“There’s no point in reacting rashly,” Ronaldo wrote. “I just want everybody to know that a lot has been said, a lot has been written, a lot has been speculated about, but my dedication to Portugal has never wavered for an instant.
“I’ve always been just one more (Portuguese) fighting for everyone’s goal. I would never turn my back on my teammates or my country.”
Ronaldo, who is the all-time leading scorer in men’s international soccer with 118 goals, said putting Portugal “on the highest level in the world” was his biggest dream.
“In my five appearances at World Cups over 16 years, always playing alongside great players and supported by millions of Portuguese, I have given my all,” he wrote. “I left everything I had on the pitch. I’ll never shrink from a battle and I have never given up on that dream.
“Unfortunately, that dream ended yesterday.”
Ronaldo said he would “let everyone draw their own conclusions.”
“For now. There’s not much else to say. Thank you, Portugal. Thank you, Qatar. The dream was beautiful as long as it lasted.”
The next major tournament is the European Championship in 2024. Ronaldo will be 41 by the time of the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico.