Ronaldo was powerless to prevent an Edinson Cavani-inspired Uruguay from securing a place in the last eight and ending the hopes of the European Championship holders in Sochi.
Despite his exceptional longevity at the elite level, Ronaldo could yet decide that this fourth World Cup of his career will be his last.
The Real Madrid forward will be 37-years-old by the time of the next tournament in Qatar in 2022.
Santos, however, believes Ronaldo can still achieve more with his national side and hopes to be able to call on him for Portugal’s next internationals.
“Certainly yes,” he said, when asked whether Ronaldo could continue with Portugal. “Cristiano still has a lot to give, a lot to give to football.
“There’s a tournament in September [European Championship qualifying] and of course we hope Cristiano will be with us to help these young players to grow. It’s important to have the captain’s presence there and he’s always there for us.”
Portugal have been previously accused of relying too much on Ronaldo and it was telling that, on a frustrating night for their most influential player, Santos’ side failed to create clear chances against Oscar Tabarez’s organised Uruguay.
“I said no team can win alone. I never said [Ronaldo] wanted to play alone. He did what he does,” Santos said after the final whistle, deflecting attention away from Ronaldo’s role.
“The team didn’t win because Uruguay scored twice. We usually score. We normally keep a clean sheet. That didn’t happen.”