Cristiano Ronaldo said on Sunday that he had always been dedicated to being a part of the Portuguese national team, which was knocked out of the World Cup a day earlier, but he was coy about his future in the national side.
The 37-year-old, a five-time Ballon D’Or winner, had arrived in Qatar with a mission to prove he could still make a difference on his national team. He ended the tournament, however, coming on as a second-half substitute in Portugal’s 1-0 quarterfinal loss to Morocco after which he left the field in tears.
“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 for a moment,” Ronaldo said in a Facebook post.
“I was always one more person fighting for everyone’s goal and I would never turn my back on my teammates and my country.”
Despite Portugal’s elimination, Ronaldo checked another box on his list of career records when he became the first player in history to score in five World Cups with a goal against Ghana in their opening group game.
Before the World Cup, he had refused to say whether the tournament in Qatar would be his last and said he was already looking ahead to the 2024 European Championship.
His Facebook post on Sunday, however, ended on an ambiguous note: “For now, there’s not much more to say. Thank you, Portugal. Thank you, Qatar. The dream was beautiful while it lasted… Now, we have to let time be a good adviser and allow everyone to draw their own conclusions.”
There are questions surrounding Ronaldo’s club future as well after Manchester United terminated his contract two days after the World Cup began, leaving him as a free agent. Reports in Spain suggested that the former Real Madrid and Juventus star could be set to join Saudi club Al Nassr, but Ronaldo categorically denied that on Dec. 6.