Cristiano Ronaldo fought back tears as he signed the Portuguese national anthem ahead of the World Cup opener against Ghana.
Despite mounting speculation about his role in the national team, Ronaldo captained his country into the game, marking his fifth appearance at a World Cup.
As the TV cameras panned over Fernando Santos’ team, the 37-year-old could be seen looking sternly ahead with a tear in his eyes as A Portuguesa played at the 974 stadium.
The game marks Ronaldo’s first appearance on the pitch following his public row with Manchester United and subsequent termination of his contract.
After staying at Old Trafford despite a widespread desire to leave the club in search of Champions League football this summer, Ronaldo was used as a squad player in his second season at United under new boss Erik ten Hag.
An explosive TV interview followed with Piers Morgan in which the five-time Ballon d’Or winner claimed he felt “betrayed” at how he had been treated since his return to United last year.