Cristiano Ronaldo refused to comment on his international future following Portugal’s exit at the FIFA World Cup 2018. The reigning European champions lost 1-2 to Uruguay and didn’t take long to find the first flight back home from Sochi. The Real Madrid star exited his fourth World Cup in disappointment after a brace by Edinson Cavani saw the Uruguayans advance to the last-eight on Saturday. The defeat also continued Ronaldo’s barren run of goals in the knockout stages of the tournament.
Ronaldo, who will be 37 by the time the next World Cup gets around in Qatar, chose not to be drawn on the discussion whether he planned to extend his international career. “Now is not the time to talk about the future of players and coaches,” Ronaldo said.
The 33-year-old however did state Portugal could look forward to the future with confidence. “We have a fantastic group, young and with a lot of ambition and for that reason I think the team will remain strong,” he said.
Ronaldo ends his World Cup campaign with four goals, one behind England’s Harry Kane who leads the standings with five. Earlier, Portugal coach Fernando Santos said he hoped Ronaldo would remain part of the international team. “Cristiano still has a lot to give to football and I hope he will stay to help the young players grow and develop,” he said. “We have a team with many young players and of course we all want him there with us.”
Pepe scored the equaliser for Portugal to give some hope in the second half but a neat strike past Rui Patricio shattered those chances. “We gave our best,” Ronaldo said. “The team played well. As the team captain I am proud of this group.”
Coming into the World Cup and at many times during the campaign as well, questions were raised over Portugal’s reliance on their star striker. Santos, however, refused to put the credit, or lack of, on an individual. “No team can win with one player alone,” Santos said. “He tried. The team didn’t win because Uruguay scored twice.”