Portugal boss gives blunt reply over Cristiano Ronaldo retirement after full-time gesture – Football News

Portugal boss gives blunt reply over Cristiano Ronaldo retirement after full-time gesture

Roberto Martinez refused to take questions on the future of Cristiano Ronaldo. (Image: Getty)

Roberto Martinez refused to be drawn on the international future of Cristiano Ronaldo after another harrowing night for the all-time great ended with his country crashing out of Euro 2024. Amid another ineffective display from the 39-year-old, Portugal were beaten on penalties by France after the clash in Hamburg finished goalless after 120 minutes.

Despite an quiet display, Ronaldo was kept on the field for the duration, and missed a golden opportunity in extra time when he stabbed a cutback from Francisco Conceicao way over the bar.

He did put away his penalty in the shootout, but having already confirmed this would be his last Euros tournament, debate has now turned as to whether international football’s record goalscorer will play in a Portugal shirt again.

After the defeat, Ronaldo took the time to console a tearful Pepe on the pitch, with his former Real Madrid team-mate also expected to walk away from national duty. Between them, the pair have racked up more than 350 caps for the Lusos.

But Martinez, who has staunchly defended his captain throughout the tournament, was in no mood to take questions on the star’s future. In his post-match press conference he was blunt when pressed if this was indeed his last appearance in a Portugal shirt.

“We are suffering as a team, there’s no individual decision at this point,” he said, before reiterating his point. “It’s too soon and raw after the match to talk about that and there have been no individual decisions made.”

Portugal v France: Quarter-Final - UEFA EURO 2024

Ronaldo consoles Pepe at the final whistle. (Image: Getty)

He also spoke out about Pepe’s emotional reaction, saying “His tears are frustration. Pepe is a role model in Portuguese football. What he did tonight and in the tournament will stay with us for the next generations.”

A clash that promised so much in terms of attacking talent on show failed to ignite, with France ultimately coming through 5-3 on spot kicks. Theo Hernandez scored the winning penalty after substitute Joao Felix had hit the outside of the post with the only miss.

And Martinez opting to keep ‘CR7’ on for the full 120 minutes has been intensely criticised by pundits. The Al-Nassr man finished the tournament without a goal to his name in seven matches, which followed him only striking once in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

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Regardless, Ronaldo is set to continue playing at club level until at least the summer of 2025, when his contract with the Saudi Pro League team expires. He’s reportedly in talks to extend his multi-million pound deal.

He has 64 goals in just 70 club games in the Middle East since his controversial move from Manchester United in January 2023. His international record currently stands at 130 goals in 212 games.

Source: https://www.express.co.uk/sport/football/1919695/Portgual-Roberto-Martinez-Cristiano-Ronaldo-retirement