A sobbing Cristiano Ronaldo exited his final World Cup heartbroken after Morocco sprung a quarterfinal surprise.
The Portuguese No.7 burst into tears at the final whistle and quickly headed for the tunnel at the Al Thumama Stadium.
Ronaldo was hounded by camera crews as he sought the dressing room, shielding his crying eyes as he went.
Out on the pitch, Morocco were celebrating history, becoming the first African side to reach a World Cup semi-final.
Says 1000 words. pic.twitter.com/G1IPoJ8uhJ
— Portista 🇵🇹 (@FCPortoGlobal) December 10, 2022
Dor. 💔 pic.twitter.com/YSd9xuQAYp
— Cristiano Ronaldo Brasil (@CR7Brasil) December 10, 2022
They did it courtesy of a Youssef En-Nesyri strike just before half-time. The Moroccans remained organised and solid throughout the second-half, confidently repelling Bruno Fernandes, Joao Felix and Bernardo Silva’s advances.
The match went to eight minutes of injury-time at 1-0. A golden late chance for Pepe and a red card for Walid Cheddira came before the final whistle, but it was still Morocco celebrating at full-time.
Ronaldo started the match on the bench – the icon dropped for the second game in a row by coach Fernando Santos.
Benfica’s 21-year-old sensation Goncalo Ramos started in his place, earning the berth with a stunning hat-trick in Portugal’s romping 6-1 victory over Switzerland in the last-16.
— B24 (@B24PT) December 10, 2022
Ronaldo was introduced with less than 40 minutes to play, joining Ramos in attack before the youngster was taken off 20 minutes later.
Despite failing to score, Ramos’ hat-trick against Switzerland means that after two starts for Portugal, he has more World Cup knockout-stage goals than Ronaldo managed in five tournaments.
Ronaldo’s build-up to the Qatar tournament was marred by controversy, as the unfolding drama of his Manchester United split went around the globe.
Morocco will go on to face France or England in the semifinals, with the two European heavyweights clashing in the final quarterfinal on Saturday evening.