Gary Neville described images of former Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo crying in the tunnel after Portugal’s defeat by Morocco as “a horrible image”.
The North Africans produced another big upset to knock Portugal out of the World Cup when Youssef En-Nesyri scored the only goal of the game on Saturday in a 1-0 defeat of Ronaldo and his teammates.
And cameras caught the five-time Ballon d’Or winner crying as he walked through the tunnel with Ronaldo in the last World Cup of his career.
Neville is very fond of Ronaldo, despite the Portugal star insisting he is not friends with his former Man Utd team-mate, describing the image of him sobbing in the tunnel as “a horrible image”.
“I want to mention Cristiano Ronaldo because I saw that picture of him crying in the tunnel,” Neville said on his Sky Sports podcast.
“That was a horrible image for me. That’s that moment when he knows his dream of winning the World Cup for his country is gone.
“We’ve all been there at the end of our careers, but he’s one of the best, if not the best player of all time. It was horrible to see him like this. He’s had a rough couple of months.”
There were rumors that Ronaldo “threatened to leave the national team” after he was left out of Portugal’s clash with Switzerland in the group stage.
And Ronaldo responded to the speculation and expressed his feelings on Instagram after his last World Cup ended in disappointment.
Ronaldo wrote: “Winning a World Cup for Portugal was the biggest and most ambitious dream of my career.
“Fortunately, I won many international titles, including for Portugal, but putting our country’s name on the biggest in the world was my biggest dream.
“I fought for it. I fought hard for this dream. In the five appearances that I have scored in World Cups over the course of 16 years, always alongside great players and supported by millions of Portuguese, I gave it my all.
I left everything on the field. I never gave up the fight or the dream. Unfortunately, yesterday the dream ended.
“It is not worth reacting too hot. I just want everyone to know that much has been said, much has been written, much has been speculated, but my dedication to Portugal has never changed for an instant.
“I was always one more person fighting for everyone’s goal and I would never turn my back on my teammates and my country.
“For now, there is not much more to say. Thanks Portugal. Thanks, Qatar. The dream was beautiful while it lasted… Now it’s time to let the story tell the story and each one draw their own conclusions.”