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Cristiano Ronaldo breaks silence on World Cup exit and hits out


Cristiano Ronaldo has broken his silence after exiting the 2022 World Cup in floods of tears, hitting out at reports that he was ready to betray Portugal midway through the tournament. The 37-year-old striker has admitted his dream of lifting the World Cup is over after Saturday’s semi-final defeat to Morocco.

After almost 24 hours of silence, Ronaldo has taken to social media, penning a long, emotional message addressing Portugal’s World Cup exit. And he made sure to hit back at suggestions that he threatened to leave Qatar after being dropped by Fernando Santos in the last 16.

His Instagram post read: “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 Portugal, but putting our country’s name on the highest foot in the World was my biggest dream.

“I fought for it. 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.

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“Sadly, yesterday, the dream ended. It’s not worth reacting to heat. 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. I was always one fighting for the objective of all, and I would never turn my back on my colleagues and my country.

“Not much more to say for now. Thank you, Portugal. Thank you, Qatar. The dream was nice while it lasted… Now, it’s hoping that the weather will be a good advisor and allow each one to draw their own conclusions.”

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Ronaldo has previously admitted that the 2022 World Cup would likely be his last, eyeing retirement when he turns 40. Morocco’s shock win to become the first-ever African nation to reach the World Cup semi-finals ended fantasy hopes of an Argentina vs Portugal final, with both Lionel Messi and Ronaldo yet to add the illustrious trophy to their collection.

Messi’s hopes are still alive, and success against Croatia and then France or Morocco could end the ‘GOAT’ debate once and for all. Ronaldo will now focus on finding a new club after Manchester United ripped up his contract last November.

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By Alex Turk

Alex Turk is a sports reporter for express.co.uk, specialising in football. He started his career as a freelancer and has featured for The FA, Manchester Evening News, Liverpool Echo and others. He was the lead for Sports Illustrated’s Manchester United coverage before joining express.co.uk in 2021.

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