Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo had long since disappeared from the World Cup stage crying and frustrated, so others had to answer questions about the future.
"Now is not the time to talk about the future of Cristiano Ronaldo or Pepe," said the 39-year-old substitute captain Pepe, who after the 1-0 loss to Morocco and the end of the World Cup quarterfinals like Portugal's entire national football team was frustrated and depressed. "We are all very sad that we didn't win."
For the 37-year-old Ronaldo, it could have been a sad final farewell to the big stage after five World Cups. Most recently, the clubless offensive player was just a joker and couldn't do anything even in this role. It is also questionable whether Pepe and national coach Fernando Santos will take on the upcoming tournaments with Portugal after the disappointing World Cup. "I'll have a quiet talk with the president about the contract issue," said Santos, whose contract runs until 2024.
The extremely talented Portuguese team with players like Gonçalo Ramos (21), João Félix (23) and Diogo Dalot (23) fell far short of their potential at this World Cup. The team acted far too unimaginatively, especially against the Moroccans, who were only concerned with defending and were extremely strong in terms of fighting. "Obviously the players are unhappy and disappointed," said Santos. It was him and Ronaldo in particular who "hit" the end.
Santos rated his team's performance as "good. Losing isn't fair, but that's football," he lamented.
After the return trip to Portugal on Sunday, Ronaldo should now take care of his immediate personal future. The 37-year-old has been without a club since leaving Manchester United shortly before the World Cup. He is reportedly on the receiving end of a lucrative offer from Saudi Arabia, but the aspiring five-time world footballer may prefer to continue his career at the top level in Europe.
Football World Cup Organizing Committee World Cup Schedule Information on Portugal's national team Moroccan Football Association Association announcement