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Cristiano Ronaldo Retirement? The End Could Be Nigh

The heartbreak was conspicuous for all to see as Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal were dismissed from the World Cup on Saturday evening by Morroco. Now questions swirl about a Cristiano Ronaldo retirement.

The Latest on a Cristiano Ronaldo Retirement

The 2016 European Champions were in invincible form prior to the match, having hammered Murat Yatkin"s Switzerland 6-1 last time out(a match in which Ronaldo started on the bench) to reach the quarter-finals but were shown the way out thanks to Yousuf En-Nesyri"s 42nd-minute strike(with Ronaldo also starting on the bench).

And the Selecao player who got the most of the bale was none other than Cristiano Ronaldo. Initially managing to hold them back at the end of the referee"s whistle, Ronaldo let the tears flow freely as he headed down the tunnel and for the dressing room, only keeping a hand over his face.

It"s been a World Cup with a lot of similarly disheartening scenarios. Neymar, Richarlison, Luis Suarez, Heung Min Son and more have had to display pure emotions after their countries were sent packing from the tournament.

But Ronaldo"s tears hold more weight, perhaps. In the midst of the many problems he"s had recently, the World Cup was his perfect chance at redemption and retribution. The 5 time Ballon D"Or winner came to Qatar with one clear goal: to win the trophy

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 putting the name of our country on the highest level in the world was my biggest dream. I fought for it. I fought hard for this dream. In the 5 appearances I scored in World Cups over 16 years, always alongside great players and supported by millions of Portuguese people, I gave my all. I left everything on the field. I never turned my face to the fight and I never gave up on that dream. Unfortunately, yesterday the dream ended. It is not worth reacting to the heat. I just want everyone to know that much has been said, much has been written, much has been speculated, but my dedication to Portugal has not changed for an instant. I was always one more person fighting for everyone"s goal and I would never turn my back on my teammates and my country. For now, there"s not much more to say. Thank you, Portugal. Thank you, Qatar. The dream was beautiful while it lasted… Now, it"s time to be a good advisor and allow each one to draw their own conclusions.

Ronaldo via Instagram

Cristiano Ronaldo Retirement Questions

Ronaldo"s misery began at the beginning of the season, just at the advent of Erik Ten Hag at Manchester United. Missing the preseason tour which he attributed to his daughter"s illness, his season was off to a very poor start with the Dutch manager.

The 37-year old was sidelined match after match. It looked like he was being punished though some would have argued instead that there were simply better options in attack and the Portuguese star was ageing rapidly.

Well, it"s apparently the same player who scored 18 EPL goals, behind Son and Mohammed Salah"s 23 which had been enough to win the Golden boot. Ronaldo was like a saviour to Manchester United last season. Receiving a splendid homecoming at his arrival, He bagged crucial goals in matches against the likes of Atalanta, Villarreal and Norwich. Then some would also have argued that United were better off when Ronaldo wasn"t on the pitch that when he was.

The good old days

The case for a Cristiano Ronaldo retirement actually happens to be an amalgam of age catching up and serious internal crisis at the club, one that has led the Glazers to putting the club up for sale. Yes, there was a lot of friction between Ten Hag and Ronaldo at United, Ronaldo might have contributed heavily to his" being at daggers drawn with his former coach by virtue of leaving the pitch during the Tottenham game before the referee"s whistle amongst others, not to talk of his bombshell interview with Piers Morgan. Truth is the 5-time Ballon d"Or winner is no longer the player he used to be four, five seasons ago. And probably Manchester United was not the best fit for a ‘fairy tale return" to the Premier League.

No offence but Ronaldo"s lost that touch, that clinicality in front of goal, the ability to finish off. No doubt the Portuguese legend can still pull off some stunts on the pitch but he"s nowhere near the quintessential Ronaldo he used to be, the one we all knew. There"s been some real and rapid deterioration down the line and it"s thanks to age, partly. He"s 37 and to be honest, only very few players are fortunate to keep their form into their late thirties.

The reality is Ronaldo is out of United already and finally World Cup masking of his current club status and the conundrum he"s gotten into is off. At this stage, there"s little he can still achieve in club football. Finding a new club is not impossible but wouldn"t be all that easy(especially if it"s a top European club). With all being said, it"s almost one hundred percent to conclude that trophies like the UEFA Champions League and awards like Ballon d"Or are well out of his reach; the reason Ronaldo lives and breathes soccer.

The former United man probably knew this and perhaps already had plans to hang up his football boots if Portugal had clinched the World Cup trophy
In his interview with Piers Morgan, Ronaldo is quizzed. He"s asked what would happen if he scored a hattrick in the final against Argentina to win 3-2 to which he infers that he"d retire, smiling blushingly.

Cristiano Ronaldo does have some suitors including Saudi Arabian side, Al Nassr, possibly European outfits will begin to slap price tags on the 5-time Ballon d"Or winner very soon.

That being said, whatever path he chooses to take, retirement in a couple of months or perpetuation for the next few years, we wish Ronaldo well.

Main image credit Embed from Getty Images

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