• World Cup 2022

Santos reveals the truth behind Ronaldo’s reaction to bench role

Fernando Santos, Cristiano Ronaldo
Getty Images

Both CR7 and the Portuguese Football Federation have had to deny rumors that the player threatened to leave the World Cup squad after dropping to the bench.

Cristiano Ronaldo has never said he wanted to leave Portugal’s World Cup squad, according to manager Fernando Santos.

Santos’ decision to drop Ronaldo to the bench for the 6-1 win over Switzerland in the last 16 led to reports of a huge fall-out between the coach and player, who allegedly threatened to walk out.

The Portuguese Football Federation and Ronaldo have flatly denied this claim, with Santos now revealing what really happened in the ‘normal conversation’ he had with his captain before kick-off.

“We had a conversation,” the Portugal boss said of Ronaldo in a press conference.

“I don’t do that with all the players but he’s the captain of the squad. You know what he represents for Portuguese football, for the Portuguese people, and for the national team.

“It was on the day of the match after lunch. I explained to him why he would not play and said in terms of our strategy ‘I think it would be better if you did not start. I think the game will be difficult and I will save you for the second half’.

“Cristiano was obviously not very happy as he has always been a starting player. But we had a normal conversation in which I explained my points and he accepted them. He never told me he wanted to leave the national team.”

Santos asks the media to leave Ronaldo alone

The constant questions about Ronaldo left the former Sporting and Porto boss perplexed.

“It’s high time we stopped with this conversation and look at what he did in the match,” Santos told the reporters.

“He warmed up with his colleagues, he celebrated all the goals and he was the one who invited the players to applaud the fans at the end. It’s time for you [the media] to leave Cristiano alone.

“Ninety per cent of the questions are about Cristiano.”

Santos was speaking ahead to Portugal’s World Cup quarter-final match against Morocco on Saturday.  For betting tips and a preview of the match, visit the link here on Ace Football.