Will Cristiano Ronaldo play for Portugal in the World Cup again?
Cristiano Ronaldo has ‘revealed’ on Instagram that the Qatar 2022 World Cup will be his last, which shouldn’t come as a big surprise given that he will be 41 by the time the 2026 tournament in the USA, Mexico and Canada comes around.
Ronaldo and Portugal were eliminated from the competition on Saturday by surprise package Morocco. The Portugal captain had been dropped for the round of 16 victory over Switzerland and was again named as a substitute against the Atlas Lions, although he was sent on early in the second half – equalling the all-time international appearance record – as A Seleção looked to overcome a one-goal deficit. Ronaldo had a big chance to level the game in injury time but was denied by Moroccan goalkeeper Bono and was seen leaving the field in floods of tears shortly afterwards.
Most caps in men’s international football history:
🇵🇹 196 – Cristiano Ronaldo
🇰🇼 196 – Bader Al-Mutawa
🇲🇾 195 – Soh Chin Ann
19 years representing his country. pic.twitter.com/ErxP3b2U0e
— Squawka (@Squawka) December 10, 2022
While not saying explicitly saying “I will never play in the World Cup again,” Ronaldo mentions that his “World Cup dream” is over and is keen to stress his dedication to the Portugal cause over the course of the last five tournaments.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Instagram message: The World Cup dream was beautiful while it lasted
“Winning a World Cup for Portugal was the biggest and most ambitious dream of my career. Fortunately, I won many international titles, including with Portugal, but leading my country to the very top of world soccer was my biggest dream.
I fought for that. I fought hard for that dream. In the five times I played in World Cups over 16 years, always alongside great players and supported by millions of Portuguese people, I gave everything. I gave everything on the pitch. I never turned my back on the fight and I never gave up on that dream.
Unfortunately, yesterday the dream ended. There’s no point in lashing out. I just want everyone to know that a lot was said, a lot was written, a lot was speculated, but my dedication to Portugal never wavered for one moment. I was always ready to fight for my country and our collective goals in the same way as everyone else and I would never turn my back on my teammates and my country.
For now, there is not much more to say. Thank you, Portugal. Thank you, Qatar. The dream was beautiful while it lasted… Now, let’s hope that time will be a good healer and allow everyone to draw their own conclusions.”
What is Cristiano Ronaldo’s World Cup record?
Ronaldo played in five World Cup tournaments between 2006 and 2018, scoring eight times in 22 appearances, one goal short of Eusebio’s Portuguese record. Portugal’s best finish in the competition in that time was third place in 2006, Ronaldo’s first appearance in the tournament.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner, who had his contract with Manchester United terminated last month, is a free agent going into 2023 and has yet to agree a deal with a new club, with Ronaldo recently denying that he had signed up with Saudi Arabia side Al-Nassr.