Cristiano Ronaldo says he will ‘never change’ after leaving the pitch before the full-time whistle had been blown after seeing what appeared to be a goal ruled out in Portugal’s 2-2 draw with Serbia.
The visitors were two goals up in the first half in Belgrade on Saturday thanks to a brace from Diogo Jota, but were pegged back by goals from Mitrovic and Filip Kostic.
Nikola Milenkovic was then sent off in stoppage time and Ronaldo thought he had taken all three points when he latched onto a cross just ahead of the keeper and rolled the ball home.
But Stefan Mitrovic raced back towards the goal-line and cleared the ball – though it appeared to have already crossed the line before he got there.
With no goal-line technology, it was up to the officials to decide if it was a goal or not and, much to Ronaldo’s frustration, they felt Mitrovic cleared the effort before the ball had crossed the line.
But Juventus superstar Ronaldo was unhappy with the decision, protesting angrily with the linesman and then the official and he pleaded for the goal to be given – though all he received was a yellow card.
Cristiano Ronaldo then left the pitch before the final whistle at the end of the game, and threw his captain’s armband in frustration.
With few seconds still left on the clock, Ronaldo decided he had had enough and threw his captain’s armband on the ground and walked off the field before the referee had blown the full-time whistle.
Addressing the incident on Instagram after the match, Ronaldo wrote: ‘Being captain of the Portugal national team is one of the greatest honours and privileges of my life.
‘I give and will always give my all for my country, that will never change. ‘But there are difficult moments to cope with, especially when we feel like an entire nation is being harmed. Head up and face the next challenge! Come on Portugal!’
Ronaldo has now failed to score in each of his last four games for Portugal despite being desperate to score another eight goals in order to surpass Ali Daei’s record of 109 goals as the highest international goalscorer of all time.