In a dramatic FIFA World Cup qualifier match between Serbia and Portugal, Cristiano Ronaldo stormed off the pitch and threw the captain's armband to the ground after being denied what he thought was a stoppage time winner for his side.
In an entertaining match which ebbed and flowed, Portugal took a 2-0 lead thanks to a brace from Diogo Jota. However, Serbia struck back and leveled things at 2-2 before Cristiano Ronaldo's last minute shot seemed to squirm over the goal line.
Cristiano Ronaldo wheeled away in celebration, but the goal was not given by the assistant referee which left the Portuguese superstar fuming:
In an incredible series of events in stoppage time, Serbia just about held on for a valuable point while Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal team-mates furiously surrounded the referee after the final whistle.
For continuing his protests with the referee, Cristiano Ronaldo was shown a yellow card even as multiple TV replays seemed to suggest that the ball had crossed the line.
Cristiano Ronaldo: "An entire nation is being harmed"
Facing criticism from some sections for throwing the captain's armband, Cristiano Ronaldo in an Instagram post defended his actions.
“Being captain of the Portugal team is one of the greatest privileges of my life and fills me with pride. I always give and will give everything for my country, that will never change.
“But there are difficult times to deal with, especially when we feel that an entire nation is being harmed.”
Manager Fernando Santos was also disappointed with the decision and did not criticize Cristiano Ronaldo for his actions. Speaking to reporters after the match, Santos said:
“I’ve been told he did not react well,
“It is the normal frustration of those who score Portugal's winning goal that did not count.”
It has been a tough month for Cristiano Ronaldo. After being knocked out of the UEFA Champions League by Porto, Juventus fell to a crushing defeat against Benevento which all but ended their Serie A title hopes.
The controversial decision by the assistant referee not to award the goal would have added to Ronaldo's frustrations and made him even more determined to get back to winning ways soon.
Portugal will be confident of bouncing back against minnows Luxemborg in their next match on Tuesday. Cristiano Ronaldo and co. will be itching to put in a good performance.