Cristiano Ronaldo is out of the FIFA World Cup. Perhaps for good.
The controversial, yet supremely talented and gravitational soccer player who will one day be thought of as one of the greatest ever to play the game, exited the 2022 FIFA World Cup with Portugal losing in stunning fashion to upstart Morocco in the quarterfinals.
For Ronaldo, 37, this was likely his final World Cup for Portugal, given his age. His talent level is diminishing as his career sunsets, and the depth of attacking talent in the Portugal player pool will likely leave no spot for Ronaldo on the 2026 World Cup roster if he doesn’t retire before then.
Ronaldo has been at the center of mostly self-inflicted controversy in the past month. Before the World Cup, he walked off the field before full-time when he wasn’t used as a sub as Manchester United lead Tottenham.
Then he fell out even further with Man United in a very public way when he decided to sit down for an interview with British firebrand Piers Morgan and blast the club and coach Erik ten Hag. Ronaldo was clearly trying to force his way out of the club, which worked when United and the striker mutually agreed to terminate his contract.
He has been linked to a Saudi club for a deal that has been reported to be about $210 million/year.
There was also a questionable incident following Portugal’s 6-1 win against Switzerland in the round of 16. Ronaldo started on the bench for the first time this tournament, as he did against Morocco. He was the first to walk off the field while his teammates celebrated with fans, leading some to suggest he was being selfish again. Portugal coach Fernando Santos wasn’t pleased.
At best, this is Ronaldo first off the pitch after thanking fans and celebrating briefly with teammates. At worst, this is 🇵🇹 CAPTAIN Ronaldo shunning his teammates during his NATION'S moment of glory. A curiously isolated star at the wrong time either way. (via @Davenbort) pic.twitter.com/FPKFE5pP6L
— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) December 6, 2022
Ronaldo also was accused of rape that allegedly occurred in 2009. That lawsuit against him was dismissed due to the prosecuting attorney’s misconduct in June.
Needless to say, Ronaldo’s lightning-rod personality led to a lot of opinions when Morocco sent him home and crying in the tunnel. Ronaldo scored one goal in 291 minutes this tournament and eight career World Cup goals in 21 games, but no World Cup title.
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) December 10, 2022
It hurts me to see Ronaldo like this man 💔 pic.twitter.com/MbRGnTcRO2
— WolfRMFC (@WolfRMFC) December 10, 2022
goodbye ronaldo love you forever💔 pic.twitter.com/mYd7kH5Q7s
— Speed⭐️ (@ishowspeedsui) December 10, 2022
the most beautiful thing i have ever seen pic.twitter.com/DbhXWEyYKm
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) December 10, 2022
Inject it directly into my veins pic.twitter.com/sGKiOmlBZr
— Craig Calcaterra (@craigcalcaterra) December 10, 2022
Seeing this from Ronaldo is heartbreaking pic.twitter.com/h0qChhzrXS
— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) December 10, 2022
DON'T CRY BECAUSE IT'S OVER. CRY BECAUSE MESSI IS STILL IN IT 😭 pic.twitter.com/fbHPGmWiWr
— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) December 10, 2022
— 🤺 (@jordannobbsfc2) December 10, 2022