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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 15 October 2018

Cristiano Ronaldo tight-lipped on Portugal future after World Cup KO

The reigning European champions were undone by two Edinson Cavani goals for Uruguay in their last-16 tie in Sochi

Cristiano Ronaldo refused to discuss his Portugal future after they were eliminated from the 2018 World Cup after a 2-1 defeat to Uruguay. Mohamed Messara / EPA
Cristiano Ronaldo refused to discuss his Portugal future after they were eliminated from the 2018 World Cup after a 2-1 defeat to Uruguay. Mohamed Messara / EPA

Cristiano Ronaldo saw his World Cup dreams slip away once again on Saturday but gave no hint as to whether he plans to continue playing for Portugal.

The reigning European champions were undone by two Edinson Cavani goals for Uruguay in their last-16 tie in Sochi, despite Pepe bringing them level at one point early in the second half.

It was not to be Ronaldo's night, as he exited the World Cup on the same day as Lionel Messi's Argentina were eliminated following a 4-3 defeat at the hands of France.

Ronaldo will be nearly 38 by the time the next World Cup comes around in Qatar in 2022.

"Now is not the time to talk about the future, either of the coach or the players," the Portugal captain said after the game.

The 33-year-old Real Madrid striker did however say that the European champions could look to the future with confidence.

"I am sure that Portugal will continue to be one of the best teams in the world. We have a young and ambitious squad," he said.

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Remarkably, neither Ronaldo nor Messi have managed to score a single goal in a knockout tie in four World Cups going back to 2006.

Ronaldo reached the semi-finals with Portugal in his first World Cup in Germany, but has never made it past the last 16 since then.

This has been his best World Cup in terms of goals scored, as he leaves with four in total, including a hat-trick in a 3-3 draw with Spain in the group stage.

His tally is one behind the tournament's current leading scorer Harry Kane, with Ronaldo also missing a penalty in the 1-1 draw with Iran.

"He is an exceptional player," said Uruguay's veteran manager Oscar Tabarez.

"He is their leader, their captain. You need to really concentrate to make sure he is not successful against you, but that is very difficult."

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Read more on World Cup 2018:

World Cup 2018: Day 18 updates - Spain v Russia in last 16

Ian Hawkey: Uruguay's Suarez and Cavani upstage Portugal's Ronaldo

Day 17 talking points: New kid on the block, South America's dark horse and the best game so far?

John McAuley: Relaxed Zlatko Dalic ready for Croatia's date with destiny against Denmark

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Portugal manager Fernando Santos was hopeful that Ronaldo will continue to represent his country for some time yet, with Portugal's next challenge to defend the European Championship they won in France two years ago.

"I am sure he will. Cristiano still has a lot to give to the game," Santos said when asked if he felt his captain would carry on representing his country.

Portugal will take part in the inaugural Uefa Nations League later this year, beginning against Italy in September.

By that time, Ronaldo's situation at club level will be clearer after he raised doubts about his future with Real Madrid in the wake of their Uefa Champions League final win against Liverpool in May.

"There is another tournament starting in September and of course we hope Cristiano will be with us to help the younger players grow," Santos said.

"We have many young players and it is important to have our captain there."