The coach of the Portuguese national football team, Fernando Santos, confirmed, on Friday, that the star Cristiano Ronaldo was not happy to keep him on the bench against Switzerland in the final price, but he did not threaten to leave the “Seleção Europe” camp in the Qatar World Cup 2022.
In the final price match against Switzerland, the unimaginable happened when Santos kept Ronaldo (37 years), the best player in the world five times, out of the starting line-up, and the match ended with a crushing Portuguese victory 6-1.
Paradoxically, his replacement, the young Benfica striker Goncalo Ramos (21 years), managed to steal the limelight from him by scoring a wonderful hat-trick, the first in this World Cup, thus becoming the second youngest player to achieve this achievement in the knockout stages after the legend Pele in 1958.
During a press conference in Doha on the eve of facing Morocco in the quarter-finals, Santos touched on this issue, saying: Ronaldo and I had a conversation. It would have been too bad if we hadn’t had a conversation. Since I took the training I have always done that. I talk and strengthen my relationship with them.
He added: I will not say that I do this with all the players, but he is the captain of the national team, and because he is what he represents for Portuguese football and the Portuguese people.
Santos continued that the conversation: It was the day of the match after lunch. I haven’t spoken to him before. I explained to him why he would not participate in the main. I explained to him not to be surprised, and invited him to my office and told him to listen. This is my strategy. I thought the match was going to be tough and I wanted to keep him for the second half.
And he added: He was not happy with this decision. And he said to me, “Do you really think that’s a good idea?” I explained my point of view to him and he accepted my decision.
Portuguese newspaper Record reported Thursday that Ronaldo had threatened to leave after a fraught conversation with Santos.
And while the local federation of the game denied this news completely, Santos said: He never told me that he wanted to leave the national team. It is time to stop this argument. Ronaldo was the one who started warming up with his team mates and celebrated all the goals. He invited his teammates to shake hands with the fans. It’s time to leave Ronaldo alone, he is very important to Portuguese football.