Cristiano Ronaldo did not attempt to hide his emotions at full time as Belgium notched up a hard-fought slender 1-0 win over Portugal in the Euro 2020 Round of 16 tie at the La Cartuja Stadium in Seville, Spain. The Portuguese national team captain furiously threw his national team captain's armband after the full-time whistle as Roberto Martinez's boys celebrated in unison.
The two teams played a tightly contested game with Thorgan Hazard's long-distance out-swinger being the only successful strike of the evening. The Belgians were the better side defensively and did not leave an inch space for the Portuguese attacking trio of Diogo Jota, Cristiano Ronaldo and Bernardo Silva any space upfront.
Even, the Portuguese Captain Cristiano Ronaldo was fairly ineffective except for a go at goal from a direct free-kick in the first half as the Juventus striker failed to go post-Ali Daei to become all-time highest men's international football goal-scorer. Ronaldo currently is tied with the former Iranian international at 109 goals.
The Portuguese No. 7 has been facing the heat online from his own and rival fans alike for throwing the national team armband. It is the second instance that Ronaldo has thrown his armband. Ronaldo was aggrieved earlier in a World Cup 2022 qualifier game against Serbia where his goal was disallowed by the referee and not checked bt the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) despite crossing the line. Ronaldo, throwing the armband after their loss to Belgium is also a sign of Ronaldo possibly having played his final Euro 2020 clash. The joint all-time top scorer has been ageing and is likely to retire after the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.
However, despite all the reproval handed towards the Portuguese captain, maybe Ronaldo deserves some slack. He quickly gathered and held himself together out of his instantaneous reactions and went towards his Serie A rival, Romelu Lukaku to share a moment of the spirit of the sport. The two strikers hugged each other and exchanged pleasantries. Ronaldo congratulated Lukaku. Lukaku also came on top in the recently concluded Serie A campaign as Inter went away to win the Scudetto comfortably.
Ronaldo dropped and kicked the Captain's armband away... pic.twitter.com/FKSQr1b8o1— MC (@CrewsMat19) June 27, 2021
Ronaldo has been highly competitive in the recent few years despite nearing his career end, and despite him throwing the armband to the ground is sheer disrespect to the honour and responsibility of a national team captain, it is also indicative of the sheer hunger and grit possessed by Ronaldo. Portugal managed to get as many as 23 shots against Belgium, which also a Euro 2020 record for most shots attempted without any goals scored.
Portugal have been a team that somehow managed to ride on draws and favourable situations in Euro 2016 as they clinched the top continental title with just a single win, this was not to be the case in Euro 2020. Belgium will now face Italy in the quarter-final at the Allianz Arena in Munich. Ronaldo and the Portugal national team will take a month-long break before they head to their respective club training grounds to gear up for the 2021/22 club football season.