Portugal coach urges ‘leave Ronaldo alone’
Portugal national football team coach Fernando Santos confirmed today that star Cristiano Ronaldo was not keen on keeping him on the bench against Switzerland in the final prize, but did not threaten to leave the camp of the “Seleção” in Europe for the World Cup Qatar 2022. Given of the final prize against Switzerland something happened that didn’t happen: you can imagine Santos keeping Ronaldo (37), five times the best player in the world, out of the starting XI and the game ending in a stunning Portuguese 6-1 Victory.
Ironically, his successor, young Benfica forward Goncalo Ramos (21), managed to steal the limelight from him by scoring a wonderful hat-trick, his first at that World Cup, becoming the second youngest player to achieve that feat at the Round of 16 according to the legend Pele in 1958. And during a press conference in Doha on the eve of the confrontation with Morocco in the quarterfinals, Santosh touched on this topic, saying: “Ronaldo and I had a conversation. It would have been a shame if we hadn’t. Ever since I took over the coaching, I’ve always done it. I talk and build my relationship with them.” He added: “I won’t say I do that with all the players but he (Ronaldo) is the captain of the national team and because that’s what he is for the represents Portuguese football and the Portuguese people.”
Santosh added that the conversation “happened on the day of the game, after lunch. I didn’t speak to him beforehand. I explained to him why he wasn’t going to start. I explained to him so he wouldn’t be surprised, and I invited him to my office and told him to listen… That’s my strategy. I thought the game was going to be difficult and I wanted to keep him.” for the second half. And he added, “He wasn’t happy with that decision. He said to me, ‘Do you really think that’s a good idea?’ So I explained my point of view to him and he accepted my decision.” Portuguese newspaper Record reported on Thursday that Ronaldo had threatened to leave after a tense conversation with Santos.
And while the game’s local federation completely denied the news, Santos said: “He never told me he wanted to leave the national team. It’s time for us to end this controversy.” It was Ronaldo who started the warm-up exercises with his colleagues and celebrated all the goals. He called his colleagues to greet the fans. It’s time to leave Ronaldo alone, he is very important for Portuguese football.” On the other hand, Santosh spoke about the encounter with Morocco, saying: “Moroccan national team is very strong and organized. It has players who play in the major leagues with Chelsea (English), Paris Saint-Germain (French) and Bayern Munich (Germany).”
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