UFABET, Qatar — Cristiano Ronaldo was inconsolable. As perhaps the final whistle blew on his World Cup career, tears streamed down the superstar’s face.
Moroccan defender Anchra dari tried to put his arm around Ronaldo as he slowly walked toward the tunnel and the locker room. But the 37-year-old Portuguese captain shooed away the 23-year-old and kept walking.
Once in the tunnel, shielded from the raucous Moroccan fans still cheering and celebrating, Ronaldo’s face crinkled, and he pinched the bridge of his nose. The tears kept coming. And the cameras caught them.
Ronaldo, one of the greatest to ever play the game, will likely never win its most coveted trophy.
Just as Neymar‘s dream of winning this World Cup for his home country ended Friday night, so too did Ronaldo’s on Saturday. Among the legends in this tournament, only Lionel Messi continues to have hope after a wild Argentina victory in penalty kicks the night before.
Saturday was historic for Morocco, which became the first African team to make the World Cup semifinals with a 1-0 victory over Portugal on Saturday at Al Thumama Stadium.
Even so, Ronaldo hovered over everything.
The game began with tense buildup. Moroccan fans outnumbered Portuguese fans by the thousands, and they whistled incessantly throughout the game — incredibly distracting sounds that were off the decibel charts.
After 42 minutes, the Atlas Lions scored. Left back Yahia Attiyat Allah lofted a perfect ball from the left side into the center of the box and Youssef En-Nesyri floated above goalkeeper Diogo Costa to tap the ball into the back of the net with his head.