Cristiano Ronaldo: My Portugal dedication didn’t change, I’d never turn back on my country

Cristiano Ronaldo #7 of Portugal looks on during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 quarter final match between Morocco and Portugal at Al Thumama Stadium on December 10, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.

Cristiano Ronaldo has said his dedication to Portugal did not change “for an instant,” in reaction to his nation being eliminated from the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Qatar.

Morocco progressed to the semi-finals of the tournament after beating Portugal 1-0 – a match that Ronaldo started on the substitutes’ bench.

The 37-year-old came on in the second half of the game but failed to help Portugal mount a comeback and was seen in tears after the final whistle.

The former Manchester United player was also left out of Portugal’s last-16 win over Switzerland after an angry reaction to being substituted in the final group game against South Korea.

In his first public comments since Portugal’s elimination, Ronaldo insisted he had always been committed to his country, adding that it was “not worth reacting hotly” to scrutiny.

Despite speculation about his international future and his next club move, Ronaldo also said he would “never turn my back on my country,” adding that he hoped “time will be a good advisor”.

He wrote on Instagram: “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 for Portugal, but to place the name of our country in the highest level of the world was my biggest dream.

“I fought for that. I fought hard for that dream. In the five times I made appearances 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 reacting hotly. I just want everyone to know that a lot was said, a lot was written, a lot was speculated, but my dedication to Portugal didn’t change for an instant. I was always one fighting for everyone’s goal and I would never turn my back on my team-mates 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 advisor and allow everyone to draw their own conclusions.”

Ronaldo is now a free agent after his contract was terminated by Manchester United following his explosive interview with Piers Morgan.

Portugal will now be looking ahead to their European Championship qualifiers against Liechtenstein and Luxembourg in March 2023.

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