Cristiano Ronaldo on World Cup Exit: 'My Dedication to Portugal Has Not Changed'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVDecember 11, 2022

Portugal's forward #07 Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after his team lost the Qatar 2022 World Cup quarter-final football match between Morocco and Portugal at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on December 10, 2022. (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP) (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images)

Portugal were eliminated from the World Cup on Saturday in a stunning 1-0 quarterfinal loss to Morocco, and veteran forward Cristiano Ronaldo responded to the result in a Facebook post on Sunday.

"I just want you all to know that much has been said, much has been written, much has been speculated, but my dedication to Portugal has not changed, not for a moment," he wrote (via FanNation Futbol). "I was always one fighting for the objective of all and I would never turn my back on my colleagues and my country."

The 37-year-old came off the bench for Portugal's 6-1 round-of-16 win over Switzerland and its loss to Morocco after starting each of the country's three group-stage games.

He scored one goal at the tournament, making him the first player in history to score a goal at five separate World Cups.

"I fought for it," Ronaldo wrote of trying to win a World Cup title. "I fought hard for this dream. In the five appearances I scored in World Cups over 16 years, always by the side of great players and supported by millions of Portuguese, I gave my all. Leave it all out on the field. I never turned my face to the fight and I never gave up on that dream."

Given his age and the fact that Portugal appeared to simply play better for long stretches without him on the pitch, it's fair to question if Ronaldo's international career is winding to a close or if he'll outright call it quits for the national team after Qatar.

There is also uncertainty over his club career after Manchester United terminated his contract ahead of the World Cup following Ronaldo's explosive interview with Piers Morgan. In that interview he blasted the club, the Glazers' ownership and several managers, among others.

It remains to be seen which club will be interested in Ronaldo, a player who is largely limited to being a poacher and an ineffective presser at this point in his career, but one who has become accustomed to large wages.

Reports have suggested that Ronaldo could join Saudi club Al-Nassr on a deal worth €200 million ($210.7 million) per season, though the veteran forward has denied them to this point.

"No, it isn't true," Ronaldo told reporters last week.

So his future, for both club and country, remains in flux.