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Page last updated at 17:43 GMT, Wednesday, 30 June 2010 18:43 UK

World Cup 2010: Ronaldo 'broken' by Portugal exit

Spain"s Fernando Llorente, Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol celebrate

Extended highlights - Spain 1-0 Portugal

Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo says he feels like a "broken man" following his side's 1-0 World Cup second-round defeat to Iberian neighbours Spain.

The Real Madrid star cut a frustrated figure as David Villa earned Spain a quarter-final match with Paraguay.

It completed a disappointing tournament for Ronaldo, who failed to reproduce his club form for Portugal.

"I feel completely disconsolate, frustrated and an unimaginable sadness," said the 25-year-old winger.

Ronaldo, who notched 33 goals for Real last season, scored only once for his country during their World Cup campaign in South Africa, in the 7-0 group victory over North Korea.

However, he was unable to exert any influence over Tuesday's last-16 game in Cape Town and was a subdued figure in the second half as Spain tightened their grip and the tactics of Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz left him increasingly isolated up front.

David Villa celebrates

Villa breaks down stubborn Portugal

Ronaldo was also forced to deny criticising Queiroz, after TV cameras caught him at full time saying: "How can I explain it [the defeat]? Ask that question of Carlos Queiroz."

Ronaldo was criticised back in Portugal for the remark, with some suggesting it was behaviour unbecoming of the national captain.

"When I said put the question to the coach, it is just because Carlos Queiroz was holding a press conference," explained the 2008 World Footballer of the Year.

"I was not in a position to explain what was what. I am a human being, and like any human being I suffer and I have the right to suffer alone.

"I know that I am the captain, and I have always assumed and will assume my responsibilities."

Later, Queiroz commented that he would never allow "anyone placing himself above the best interests of the national side".

"Portugal needs Ronaldo, and Ronaldo needs the national side," the AFP news agency quoted him as saying.

"But if this shirt [the Portuguese strip] unnerves some players, they have no grounds to be there."

Queiroz admitted that his side had been second best in a match during which they were also reduced to 10 men late on when defender Ricardo Costa was sent off for an off-the-ball clash with Spain's Joan Capdevila.

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DAFUTBOLGENIUS

"Spain had the better chances and I think, sadly, they deserved to win," reflected Queiroz.

"They were much more effective moving the ball around. We were looking for chances on the counter-attack. We had our chances - we just didn't score."

Despite their conservative game plan - Portugal only really came to life in a desperate final five minutes - Queiroz insisted his side had given their all.

"We showed ambition and desire to win but it just wasn't possible. We'll have to come back stronger," he added.

"I believe the fans have justifiable reason to be proud of the way the team has played.

"We wanted to do well and when we compete at this level, if we manage to obtain second or third, it is not satisfactory.

"We always have as our main goal to win. We also want to have an honourable performance to dignify Portuguese football.

"I wanted us to be able to leave the field with our heads held high, and I think we accomplished this."



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see also
Struggling Torres backed by Villa
30 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup day 19 photos
29 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Spain v Portugal
26 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Dunga bemoans Portuguese tactics
25 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Team tracker and Predictor
27 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup venues
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010


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