Cristiano Ronaldo has insisted dethroned European champions Portugal will return stronger following their defeat to Belgium.
Portugal’s title defence was ended by a Thorgan Hazard strike on Sunday as Fernando Santos’ side fell to a 1-0 loss in the last-16 tie.
The Selecao won just one of their four Euro 2020 matches, which is their fewest in a single European Championship tournament since their first appearance in 1984 (also one win).
The 23 shots recorded by Portugal against Belgium is the highest tally for a team at Euro 2020 without scoring, with Ronaldo responsible for four of those attempts.
Despite his side’s disappointing exit in the first knockout round, Juventus star Ronaldo is proud of his team-mates and is predicting a bright future for the Euro 2016 and Nations League 2019 winners.
“We didn’t get the result we wanted and we left the race sooner than we wanted,” he posted on his official Instagram page.
“But we are proud of our journey. We gave everything to renew the title of European Champions and this group proved that it can still give much joy to the Portuguese.
“Our fans were tireless in supporting the team from start to finish. We ran and fought for them, in order to live up to the trust they placed in us.
“It was not possible to get where we all wanted, but here is our sincere and profound thanks.
“Congratulations to Belgium and good luck to all the teams that remain in the competition. As for us, we will come back stronger.”
Portugal’s exit means Ronaldo will have to wait at least another three months before he can surpass Ali Daei as the outright top international goalscorer of all time.
However, the Juve forward’s five goals – coming from 15 shots – could yet see him end as the top scorer at Euro 2020.
Santos’ side are back in action in September with a World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland, while Belgium will face Italy on Friday for a Euro 2020 semi-final spot.