Cristiano Ronaldo's FIFA World Cup 2018 dreams were shattered on Saturday when Portugal suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Uruguay to bow out of the 21st edition of the quadrennial football fiesta in Russian Federation.
Ronaldo - Portugal's all-time top goalscorer - enjoyed his most prolific global tournament of his career in Russian Federation, scoring four times in as many appearances.
Both Ronaldo and Messi would be 37 and 34 respectively when the next World Cup comes around, and it is yet unclear whether they will still be a part of their country's worldwide set-up at this time. "If Ronaldo plays alone we will lose", Santos told reporters at the Fisht Stadium, where the Portugal skipper scored a hat-trick in a 3-3 draw with Spain during the group phase.
Ronaldo has won absolutely everything in the game, at team and individual level, except for the World Cup.
"We must congratulate Uruguay because they are the national team that are in the quarter-finals", he said in his post-match interview.
"Cristiano still has a lot to give to football, and I hope he will stay to help the young players grow and develop", Santos said after the game.
"We have to play as a team".
The possible mega-clash of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo at the big stage will remain a dream as neither of the two sides managed to beat their respective opponents as they bowed out of the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018.
"Right now we are only anxious, but we don't know how grave this injury is", Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said. You look at the midfield, they have players in European leagues - one for Juventus, one for Inter, one for PSG and one for Barca.
It was Cavani who instead took the spotlight.
Following the match, Ronaldo refused to comment on his future.
Ronaldo also said that Portugal were unlucky to lose to Uruguay. As Cavani struggled to get off the field, the Portugal captain stepped forward to help him towards the dugout.
"Today we committed a mistake that led to the equaliser but we have a very strong team in terms of mindset", Tabarez added, citing the value of his team's "intensity, focus and tactical intuition". "We have assessed their weaknesses and their strengths, and we have prepared".
"We are here to play all seven matches, right up until the final, and we will see what happens", he said.