The World Cup quarterfinal and Cristiano Ronaldo’s lifetime goal were both concluded when the full-time horn sounded.
The best player in Portuguese football will never be a World Cup victor. Ronaldo recently divorced Manchester United, and he is now an unmarried, soon-to-be 38-year-old. His most likely final destination appears to be the Saudi Arabian league, and even he might not have the confidence—or maybe even the delusion—to think he will have another chance to compete in this tournament when he is 41 years old in the summer of 2026.
As the realization set in that his illustrious international record of 118 goals in 196 appearances would not be capped by the sport’s highest team honor, cameras caught Ronaldo sobbing. Deep down, he also understood that Lionel Messi, his greatest adversary, still had a chance to win over everyone over the next eight days.
This was another humiliating moment for Ronaldo in a humiliating World Cup run.
His second career exit from Old Trafford was confirmed at the start of it, and it finishes with his reputation being severely damaged.
The idea that Ronaldo, one of the game’s most prolific goal scorers, will complete his career without scoring a goal in the World Cup’s knockout stages is maybe the most astounding statistic of the evening.
That is a remarkable fact for a guy whose ardent supporters contend he is the greatest footballer of his generation.
Although he has participated in eight knockout games, he has only started two of them this tournament—against Switzerland in the round of 16 and Morocco on Saturday.
Although Ronaldo’s midweek bench debut against the Swiss was significantly different from this assignment, both must have seemed like forms of agony to a person with his unique drive.
Tuesday’s 6-1 victory and hat trick from substitute Goncalo Ramos completely supported Fernando Santos’ decision to sit Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo will have thought that his appearance at the 51-minute mark, with Portugal trailing by a goal, was not as timely as he had hoped. He had 39 minutes (plus an additional eight minutes) to save his country.
Even yet, Ronaldo’s influence on his squad was minimal when he first appeared. He only attempted five passes, making three of them. Ten times, including three touches inside of Morocco’s penalty area, he touched the ball.
He only really had one shot at goal, and YassineBounou made a fine low stop. His presence appeared to make his teammates less patient and more desperate, leading them to turn to optimistic crosses rather than sharp forward play.
Ronaldo did have one successful play, a penalty kick against Ghana in the opening match. He accomplished the incredible achievement of being the first person to score at five World Cups by doing so.
His only other goals this campaign, though, have come twice in the Europa League against FC Sheriff and once in the Premier League against Everton.
When Ronaldo attempted to claim another goal against Uruguay, FIFA’s technology revealed the truth, contradicting his version of events.
It is difficult to imagine Ronaldo will feel any differently again after this loss to Morocco.