Argentina's Mascherano calls time on career after painful France defeat

Dean Simpson
July 1, 2018

Ronaldo had the opportunity to stake his claim as the GOAT at the World Cup following Messi's elimination but he, too, is being sent home after Portugal lost 2-1 to Uruguay courtesy of a dazzling Edinson Cavani display.

Cristiano Ronaldo has declined to discuss his global future after Portugal bowed out of the World Cup.

Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli said it was not the time to "evaluate my resignation" after his team was beaten 4-3 by France and eliminated from the 2018 World Cup in the round of 16, while adding the team failed to set their talisman Lionel Messi up for success.

Sergio Aguero's late header was only window dressing for La Albiceleste and Sampaoli admitted afterwards the team's "grand illusion" of winning the World Cup had come up short.

Diego Maradona may be a giant of the game's history, football's governing body Fifa said today, but even he must show respect to other fans at World Cup stadiums.

The 33-year-old did however say that European champions Portugal could look forward to the future with confidence.

All three played a part at this year's World Cup and all have turned 30 and might not be around to play in Qatar in another four years.

Ronaldo reached the semi-finals with Portugal in his first World Cup in Germany, but has never made it past the last 16 since then.

Currently, Ronaldo is second in the race for the Golden Boot with four goals and is tied with Belgium's Romelu Lukaku, behind leader Harry Kane on five strikes in the competition.

"He is an exceptional player", said Uruguay's veteran coach Oscar Tabarez.

Several players have promise, including 25-year-old Mauro Icardi, who scored 29 goals for Inter Milan last season but did not make the World Cup squad, and Angel Correa, a 23-year-old attacking midfielder at Atletico Madrid. "Hopefully they can achieve something".

"Cristiano still has a lot to give to football and I hope he will stay to help the young players grow and develop".

"We tried our best and we played a good game".

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