Morocco shattered Cristiano Ronaldo’s FIFA World Cup hopes on Saturday as they stunned Portugal with a 1-0 win in the quarterfinal win. Ronaldo had only one trophy missing from his illustrious cabinet for awards – the World Cup. And with Portugal making one of their best ever runs in World Cup this year, the hope for Ronaldo and Portugal ending their long wait was slowly beginning to take shape. Until Youssef En-Nesyri’s physics-defying stunner in the first half which remained the sole difference in the match. Former India cricket team’s captain Virat Kohli later took to Twitter to share an elaborate post on Ronaldo, hailing him as the “greatest of all time”
Kohli took to Instagram on Monday, a day after Portugal’s heartbreaking exit, praising Ronaldo for the impact he has had on the sport and fans around the world and that no trophy or title can take that away from him.
“No trophy or any title can take anything away from what you’ve done in this sport and for sports fans around the world. No title can explain the impact you’ve had on people and what I and so many around the world feel when we watch you play. That’s a gift from god. A real blessing to a man who plays his heart out every single time and is the epitome of hard work and dedication and a true inspiration for any sportsperson. You are for me the greatest of all time. @cristiano,” Kohli wrote along with a picture of Ronaldo.
Ronaldo, one of the greatest players to have ever played the ‘beautiful game’, now has his Portugal career hanging in balance. Although he is yet to make a statement on his future, but it is less likely that he would return four years later, at the age of 41, for the next World Cup edition.
And if it is indeed the end of Ronaldo’s World Cup journey, it was a bittersweet end for the superstar, who had a rather forgettable campaign in Qatar as a player. His only biggest moment was when he script history in becoming the only ever player to have scored in five different World Cup editions. However, amid his struggles with the form, he was benched by manager Fernando Santos in Portugal’s thumping 6-1 win against Switzerland in the Round of 16. Three of those goals were scored by his replacement, Goncalo Ramos.
Santos had stuck to his strategy for the Morocco game as well, but it ended on a losing note. Ronaldo came off the bench in both the games in the second half, and had made 11 touches in the quarterfinal game, which included a late chance for an equaliser as well.
While Ronaldo does have two major trophies to show as a Portugal captain – the Euro Cup and Nations League – Kohli had ended his captaincy run for the Indian cricket team with a title to show in ICC events. Having led the Men in Blue in four ICC events, India’s best show was finishing runners-up in the World Test Championship.
Talking about the World Cup, Morocco became the first ever team from Africa to progress into the World Cup semi-final, where they will now be up against defending champions France. Meanwhile, in the first semi-final, Lionel Messi’s Argentina will be up against 2018 runners-up Croatia.