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Cristiano Ronaldo: Portugal striker ends Euro 2024 with out a purpose – is his worldwide profession over? | Soccer Information

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As positive because the solar rising within the east and setting within the west, Cristiano Ronaldo’s identify appeared on Portugal’s team-sheet on Friday evening. Maybe for the final time. However there was no romanticism about his choice, Roberto Martinez wished him there.

Solely goalkeeper Diogo Costa performed extra minutes for Portugal this summer time, as their match ceased with a 5-3 penalty shoot-out defeat to France. It felt like an abrupt finish for one of many world’s biggest footballing abilities, who shed extra tears at these championships than he did a lot else.

This time, although, the tears weren’t Ronaldo’s. As an alternative, the Portugal captain’s function was to console a weeping Pepe as one other painful quarter-final exit got here into full focus.

Cristiano Ronaldo consoled Pepe after Portugal’s penalty shoot-out loss to France

Portugal generated an xG of 9.41 over the 5 video games they performed, however solely scored thrice (5 if you happen to embrace personal targets scored by Czech Republic’s Robin Hranac and Turkey’s Samet Akaydin). Ronaldo’s private tally amounted to zero.

Why, then, was the 39-year-old chosen to steer the road towards France over the abundance of expertise stationed on Portugal’s exceptionally-gifted bench? Neither Diogo Jota nor Goncalo Ramos even made it onto the pitch, regardless of the sport going the complete distance – Martinez continued together with his labouring frontman for the complete 120 minutes. Bruno Fernandes was changed with quarter-hour to go, however not Ronaldo.

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Cristiano Ronaldo was consoled by team-mates after seeing an extra-time penalty saved against Slovakia
Ronaldo was comforted by team-mates after seeing an extra-time penalty saved towards Slovakia

What’s extra alarming nonetheless, is that Portugal didn’t rating in any respect throughout their ultimate three fixtures. A 2-0 defeat to Georgia (with a severely-weakened aspect, that also included Ronaldo), was adopted up by goalless stalemates towards Slovenia after which fatefully France. Certainly Martinez was feeling the warmth? Or maybe the Portuguese following, and press, are additionally afraid of what a Ronaldo backlash would do to the perceived stability of a aspect so usually saved by their famed No 7.

As a result of, let’s face it, Ronaldo’s choice was not made on advantage, it was dictated by the rigours of repute. Martinez was scared to go away him out. Ronaldo’s unwavering self-belief within the face of mounting proof on the contrary permeated all inside the Portugal camp – there was little argument to be made. Actually not one deemed legitimate sufficient to face the nice man down.

And so Jota, Ramos and co watched on as Ronaldo loved six fewer touches of the ball than goalkeeper Costa – and fewer than another Portuguese participant. They agonised as Portugal created, backed up by superior xG information (1.84 to France’s 1.14), the extra presentable probabilities of the 2 sides with out discovering the web. And at last, they despaired as France’s Theo Hernandez struck the decisive penalty.

France players celebrate their shootout win over Portugal
Having dumped Portugal out, France will play Spain within the semi-finals of Euro 2024

Neither Jota, Ramos nor certainly another forward-minded substitute – reserve some sympathy for Pedro Neto too – was afforded the possibility to impression the sport. And thus the fascination with Ronaldo – who did convert his spot-kick through the shoot-out – is once more known as into query. It stays a symptom of a wider stubbornness on each his and Portugal’s behalf. Neither he nor his nation can transfer on from his glory days.

Ronaldo has represented Portugal at six European Championships and 4 World Cups. He holds the all-time file for many worldwide targets with 130, and is his nation’s most-capped participant (212). His general whole of 14 targets is essentially the most ever at Euros finals – for context, France nice Michel Platini is second with 9.

And perhaps these details present as compelling a rationale as any as to why the Portugal supervisor stood by his talisman till the final. However this, Ronaldo’s ultimate Euros hurrah, has ended with out an in-game purpose, and absolutely, an unavoidable realisation that it’s time to transfer on to the following technology.

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