Cristiano Ronaldo speaks for the first time since Portugal’s shock World Cup exit

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Cristiano Ronaldo says he will ‘NEVER’ turn his back on his country as he criticizes reports of his behavior at the World Cup in Qatar – and suggests he will NOT retire from Portugal

Cristiano Ronaldo has spoken for the first time since Morocco’s shock exit from the World Cup.

Morocco became the first African – and Arab – country to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup after beating Portugal 1-0. In the last four they play against France. Ronaldo left the stage in tears.

The Portuguese superstar was benched for the round of 16 with Switzerland and then again for Friday’s quarter-final loss to Morocco.

Cristiano Ronaldo spoke out for the first time since Portugal’s shock World Cup elimination

Speculation between the two matches had suggested that Ronaldo was so unhappy with Fernando Santos’ decision that he begged to go home.

However, the former Manchester United and Real Madrid striker denied such allegations and declared his love for his country in an emotional statement.

“Winning a World Cup for Portugal was the biggest and most ambitious dream of my career,” he wrote.

‘Fortunately I have 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.

Portugal was knocked out of the World Cup by Morocco in the final shock of the tournament

Portugal was knocked out of the World Cup by Morocco in the final shock of the tournament

‘I fought for it. I fought hard for this dream. In the five appearances I scored in 16 years at World Cups, always alongside great players and supported by millions of Portuguese, I gave everything. Leave it all on the field. I never turned my face to the fight and I never gave up on that dream.

“Unfortunately yesterday (Friday) the dream ended. It’s not worth reacting in the heat of the moment. I want you all to know that much has been said, much has been written, much has been speculated, but my commitment to Portugal has not changed for a moment. I was always someone who fought for everyone’s cause and I would never turn my back on my colleagues and my country.

“Not much more to say for now. Thanks portugal. Thank you Qatar. The dream was nice while it lasted… Now we hope that time will be a good counselor and allow everyone to draw their own conclusions.’

Ronaldo’s future at the top of the world game is now in serious doubt. The Portuguese was effectively forced to force his own departure from Manchester United after being dropped from Erik ten Hag’s first-team squad.

The Portuguese boss refused to question whether or not he would leave his post after their departure

The Portuguese boss refused to question whether or not he would leave his post after their departure

Meanwhile, Fernando Santos pointed to the future of the Portuguese national side by not selecting Ronaldo for one of their knockout matches at the ongoing World Cup.

Santos, explaining ahead of their last 16 game with Morocco how talks had gone with Ronaldo ahead of the Switzerland match, said his most recognizable player was not happy when he was told he had been dropped – essentially for the good of the team.

“So that conversation had to happen,” said Santos when he revealed that he had informed Ronaldo in advance that he would not start. I don’t do that with all 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 game against Switzerland to tell him why he was going to come on as a substitute.

Ronaldo was on the bench for Portugal's two World Cup knockout matches in Qatar

Ronaldo was on the bench for Portugal’s two World Cup knockout matches in Qatar

“I told him he wouldn’t start in the Round of 16. He wasn’t happy with the talk, as usual. But it was a normal conversation where everyone voiced their opinion.

“If a player is captain of Portugal and starts on the bench, it is normal that he is not happy. When I told him 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 he never wanted to leave.’

In his post-match interview, after seeing his side knocked out by relative minnows Morocco, Santos said he did not regret not starting Ronaldo.

“I don’t regret leaving Ronaldo on the bench,” said coach Santos at a press conference on Saturday.

“It wouldn’t change anything, in terms of the team I can’t think 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 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 isn’t a great player anymore, that has nothing to do with it.”

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The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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