Mumbai: Hours after Cristiano Ronaldo's emotional Instagram post following Portugal's exit from the FIFA World Cup, former India Cricket team captain Virat Kohli has come out in support of the star footballer.
Ronaldo's chance to win a World Cup title at the FIFA World Cup 2022 may have been his last, and the 37-year-old left empty-handed after Portugal's elimination from the competition.
No trophy or victory, in Kohli's opinion, can undo the good he has done for the sport and for fans all over the world. Kohli claimed Ronaldo is the "greatest of all time" and said the star footballer has inspired millions across the globe.
Kohli praised Ronaldo on Instagram, saying that no trophy or championship could ever take away the impact he has had on the sport and fans all over the world.
"No trophy or any title can take anything away from what you've done in this sport and for sports fans around the world. No title can explain the impact you've had on people and what I and so many around the world feel when we watch you play. That's a gift from god. A real blessing to a man who plays his heart out every single time and is the epitome of hard work and dedication and a true inspiration for any sportsperson. You are for me the greatest of all time," Kohli wrote on Instagram.
One day after the heartbreaking loss, Ronaldo opened up on Instagram for the first time on Sunday. He praised Qatar, the World Cup host nation, and Portugal and stated the dream was enjoyable while it lasted.
"Winning a World Cup for Portugal was the biggest and most ambitious dream of my career. Fortunately, I won many titles of international dimension, including for Portugal, but putting the name of our country on the highest level in the world was my biggest dream," Ronaldo captioned the post.
"I fought for it. I fought hard for this dream. In the 5 presences that I scored in World Cups over 16 years, always alongside great players and supported by millions of Portuguese people, I gave my all. I left everything on the field. I never turned my face to the fight and I never gave up on that dream," he further added.
"Unfortunately, yesterday the dream ended. It is not worth reacting 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 not 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's not much more to say. Thank you, Portugal. Thank you, Qatar. The dream was beautiful while it lasted... Now, it's time to be a good advisor and allow everyone to draw their own conclusions," he concluded.
During Portugal's Round of 16 match against Switzerland, Ronaldo was suddenly benched, but the team didn't live to regret it after a resounding 6-1 victory. It was evident that he was nearing the end of his career as a professional football player.
He was also removed from the starting lineup in the quarterfinal against Morocco, and despite coming back into the game six minutes into the second half, he had no effect on the outcome of the match. The Moroccan defence stifled him and his teammates, despite the fact that he entered the game in the 51st minute for his 196th Portugal appearance. Morocco was so dominant that it only let Portugal have three shots on goal.
With 196 appearances for Portugal, the forward is now tied for the most men's international appearances. Ronaldo, who left Manchester United amicably before the World Cup, is nearing the end to his professional career.