Cristiano Ronaldo has extended a heartfelt apology to his Portugal team-mates despite guiding them to a thrilling 2-1 comeback win over the Republic of Ireland. The 36-year-old missed a penalty in the opening exchanges of the game, but made up for it with his late brace that sealed the win for Portugal.
Even though he remarkably guided Portugal to a crucial win, Cristiano Ronaldo ended up publicly apologizing for his outburst of emotion on the pitch. The forward celebrated the winning goal for Portugal by taking his shirt off and was duly booked by the referee.
After picking up the booking, Cristiano Ronaldo will now miss Portugal’s next World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan. As such, the Portugal captain has admitted his mistake and apologized for his actions on the pitch.
Speaking in a post-match interaction, Ronaldo stated:
“I forgot. It’s the emotion of the game. Maybe the coach will give me a hard time, but it doesn’t matter. The important thing was to help the team. I’m sorry, but the emotions speak louder.”
Cristiano Ronaldo’s comments came after he surpassed Ali Daei’s record for most number of goals in international football. The Manchester United star canceled out John Egan’s opening goal for Ireland with two headers in the 89th minute and in stoppage time.
Portugal coach Fernando Santos heaps praise on Cristiano Ronaldo
Although Cristiano Ronaldo ended up receiving a suspension for his celebration, Portugal coach Fernando Santos opted against focusing on it. Instead, the head coach heaped praise on Cristiano Ronaldo for his performance and remarkable achievement.
Santos commented after the game:
“Obviously, we are all pleased with his record. There is no Portuguese person who is not pleased to see him as the top scorer of international goals ever.”
Portugal currently sit at the top of Group A for the World Cup qualifiers. However, Santos will know his team were forced to heavily rely on Cristiano Ronaldo’s brilliance to bail them out against Ireland.
With the Portugal captain unavailable for the next game, the team will have to step up collectively. Perhaps they couldn’t have asked for a better opponent though. Azerbaijan, who next face Portugal, are bottom of Group A with three defeats in as many games.
Undoubtedly, Portugal are firm favorites to secure another win when they face Azerbaijan on September 7 at the Olympic Stadium in Baku.