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Fernando Santos benches Cristiano Ronaldo in knockout clash vs Switzerland; Here's why

Fernando Santos took the brave call to drop Ronaldo after admitting that he wasn't really happy with the kind of reaction Ronaldo gave on being substituted in Portugal's clash vs South Korea.

Kartik Mehindru Written By: Kartik Mehindru @mehindrukartik New Delhi Updated on: December 09, 2022 21:44 IST
Cristiano Rolando | File Photo
Image Source : AP Cristiano Rolando | File Photo

Cristiano Ronaldo has been benched in Portugal's knockout clash vs Switzerland along with Joao Cancelo. Fernando Santos took the brave call to drop Ronaldo after admitting that he wasn't really happy with the kind of reaction Ronaldo gave on being substituted in Portugal's clash vs South Korea. 

What Happened?

'Have I already watched the footage? Yes. I didn't like it. Didn't like it at all,' said Santos after the game vs South Korea. 

Ronaldo was ineffective in Portugal's final two games of group play and was pulled midway through the second half of a 2-1 loss to South Korea. Ronaldo's body language indicated the superstar was annoyed at being taken out of the game — something Portugal coach Fernando Santos remained silent about for nearly three days.

Finally in his Monday news conference, Santos conceded Ronaldo's attitude in the game against South Korea was the one distraction — of many — that had pushed him too far.

Before Portugal's first match of the World Cup, Ronaldo cut ties with Manchester United and is reportedly being wooed by a Saudi Arabian team with the promise of an exorbitant paycheck, and a poll in Portugal showed that fans in his home country wanted the superstar dropped from the lineup.

It's not unprecedented for Ronaldo to get less playing time because the ageing superstar has faded of late. He barely played in the Premier League for United through the first half of the season, and Santos dropped him from the Portugal lineup for a Nations League game against Spain in March.

Also Read: 5 biggest questions for Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid ahead of 2nd ODI vs Bangladesh

With Ronaldo, Portugal has advanced to the round of 16 of the World Cup in four of his five tournaments, but he's never played in a World Cup final.

Portugal's Starting XI

Diogo Costa, Diogo Dalot, Pepe, Rúben Dias, Raphael Guerreiro, William, Otavio, Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes, João Félix, Gonçalo Ramos

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