Cristiano Ronaldo will NOT return home from the World Cup on Sunday… with the free agent among 10 Portugal players who will spend time with their families in Qatar instead of flying back to Lisbon after shock Morocco defeat
Alongside the former Manchester United forward, Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes, Diogo Dalot, Ruben Neves, Rui Patricio, Raphael Guerreiro, Rafael Leao, Joao Cancelo and Maheus Nunes, will remain in Qatar.
Cristiano Ronaldo will remain in Qatar after Portugal’s shock 1-0 defeat by Morocco
He will be joined by Bruno Fernandes (third right) who accused the Argentinian referee of bias
Of the initial 26-man World Cup squad, Danilo Pereira and Nuno Mendes had already withdrawn through injuries, leaving 24 players at the tournament – 14 of whom will now return to Lisbon at approximately 5.15pm on Sunday.
Players will return to Lisbon irrespective of where they play their club football, be it with Porto (Pepe, Otavio, Diogo Costa), or abroad like Ruben Dias (Manchester City) and Jose Sa (Wolves).
It was a World Cup to forget for Fernando Santos’ Portugal side, who limped out in the final eight to the Atlas Lions, who became the first African team to make the semi-finals of a World Cup.
Youssef En-Nesyri’s goal created history as Morocco became the first African semi-finalists
During the competition itself Ronaldo again grabbed the headlines on numerous occasions.
Firstly, he was criticised for the manner in which he won his penalty against Ghana in the opening group game, before claiming a goal against Uruguay which was proven never to have touched him.
Ronaldo was benched for the first time in a major tournament knockout game since Euro 2008
Then after being dropped against Switzerland in the last 16 he was seen walking off the pitch on his own whilst his team-mates continued to celebrate, and against Morocco he stormed off the pitch at the final whistle.
In being benched against Switzerland, Ronaldo failed to start a major tournament knockout match for the first time since Euro 2008.
The 37-year-old did however still manage to break records in Qatar, becoming the first male player to score in five successive World Cups, as well as equalling Badr Al-Mutawa’s 196-cap international record against Morocco.
The 37-year-old was in tears as he left the field after his World Cup was brought to a close