Coach Oscar Tabarez spoke ahead of the game about his team's togetherness and deep-rooted unity, with many of his players having first emerged during Uruguay's 2011 Copa America triumph, and their club mentality was on show against Portugal. But the Real Madrid superstar has been at the heart of much of what went right for Portugal at this World Cup.
Exquisite technique, timing and teamwork were all present as the two combined to score a goal inside the first 10 minutes that few sides at the tournament would have been able to prevent.
If Barcelona forward Messi, who previously quit the Argentina team in 2016 before changing his mind, does not continue until the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, he will end his career without a major trophy for his country.
Portugal are out of the World Cup following their match against Uruguay.
The concern going forward will be whether or not Suarez can do it without his strike partner if the injury that saw Cavani limp off with the aid of Ronaldo proves serious. In football, there are no moral victories and I would have preferred to play worse and win the match.
The European champions were undone by two Edinson Cavani goals in Sochi, despite Pepe bringing them level at one point early in the second half. "We have to keep our heads high".
"Now it's not the time to talk about the future", Ronaldo said.
Uruguay will play France in the last eight in Nizhny Novgorod on Friday and will wait with bated breath to see whether Cavani recovers in time.
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Ronaldo's great start in Russian Federation allowed him to surpass the combined total of three goals he had scored in his previous three World Cups and take his global tally 85 from 154 matches.
Uruguay didn't concede against Egypt, Saudi Arabia or Russian Federation in the Group Stages, as they topped Group A, and their opening goal against Portugal was an ominous sign for the Europeans.
"The truth is, it was really exciting", Cavani said.
'And I also want to congratulate the organisation of this World Cup, it has been fantastic in every way; the organisation, the security, the atmosphere is ideal and it must be said.
"No team can win with one player alone", Portugal coach Fernando Santos said.
Ronaldo had one clean shot the entire 90 minutes and it came in the opening moments of the match, directly into the arms of Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera. "Even if he scores three goals in match, you still need to have a team to support him". But he chose to give the ball to Cavani, who has scored three goals in Uruguay's last three matches, including two in the win over Portugal.
"We have a very strong team in terms of mindset", Tabarez said.