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Portugal coach dismisses rumours of Ronaldo threatening to leave World Cup after being dropped

Santos declined to answer if he would change the team and restore Ronaldo in the quarterfinals against Morocco.

Aachal Maniyar Written By: Aachal Maniyar Published on: December 09, 2022 21:51 IST
Ronaldo reacts during Portugal vs Switzerland match
Image Source : GETTY Ronaldo reacts during Portugal vs Switzerland match

Portugal's star player Cristiano Ronaldo did not threaten to leave the World Cup after he was dropped from the team in the match against Switzerland in the round of 16 coach Fernando Santos said on Friday.

Santos further said that Ronaldo was “not happy” to be told he was not in the starting lineup.

Ronaldo's replacement Gonçalo Ramos scored three goals in a 6-1 win. The all-time leading scorer for Portugal came off the bench in the 74th minute.

"Cristiano obviously was not very happy about it. He told me Do you really think it's a good idea?'" Santos said.

"He has never told me that he wanted to leave the national team," Santos said dismissing reports in Portuguese media. “It is time we stopped with this conversation and the controversies. He celebrated all the goals that we scored."

"It is time for you to leave Ronaldo alone in acknowledgment of what he did for Portuguese football," the coach said.

However, Santos declined to answer if he would change the team and restore Ronaldo in the quarterfinals against Morocco.

Cristiano Rolando was 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.

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 aging 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.

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