Has enough already been said about Cristiano Ronaldo? Maybe, but the former Manchester United forward is currently tough to ignore after being relegated to the bench for Portugal’s games against Switzerland in the round of 16 and then Morocco in the quarterfinal. What will happen to the falling star now? Let’s start now.
Having already been left off the starting line-up for Portugal’s decisive 6-1 victory over Switzerland in the round of 16, Cristiano Ronaldo was named on the bench for Portugal’s quarterfinal match against Morocco at the 2022 World Cup.
At the Lusail Stadium, Portugal thrashed the Swiss behind a hat-trick from Goncalo Ramos, who had been inserted into the line-up after Fernando Santos made the crucial choice to bench Cristiano Ronaldo. As Portugal set the stage for their quarterfinal match against Morocco, Pepe, Raphael Guerreiro, and Rafael Leao all scored goals, proving that the 37-year-old was not missed by his squad.
Can the former Real Madrid great now playing for Portugal accept his new position?
Let’s review the consequences of Ronaldo being benched amid frantic allegations that the forward was allegedly threatening to leave his squad. These reports have been denied but not entirely disproved by the unending news cycle that surrounds the star.
WHY DID SANTOS DROP RONALDO AT THE WORLD CUP?
Ronaldo, who had scored once while starting all three of Portugal’s group games, appeared to be extremely miffed when he was replaced in the 2-1 loss to South Korea.
The player put his finger to his lips and said that there had been a misunderstanding and that he had actually only been angry at an opponent, but many people did not trust that explanation and took it to mean that he was angry at his manager.
Before the Switzerland game, Santos made it quite clear that he didn’t like it and benched his captain as a result. Was it as a result of his response to being replaced? Even if it’s not totally obvious, that seems like a plausible explanation.
Santos may well have made the choice strictly for football reasons, sensing what many analysts and supporters have long believed: that Portugal would be more spirited, alive, and team-oriented without their star man in the starting lineup.
If Santos just wanted to sit Ronaldo for this reason, allowing his other players to excel in his absence, it surely worked.
The 68-year-old promptly dismissed any rumours of a disagreement with Ronaldo in his postgame remarks, saying: “There is no issue with our captain. We’ve known each other for years. He supported my choice when we spoke before the game. He is a good example.
The guy Ronaldo had usurped was described by Ramos, who succeeded Ronaldo admirably, as “the captain, the leader, and we always look forward to playing side by side with him.”
What about Pepe, who is always influential? He declared, “Ronaldo is content and entirely concentrated.” He is aware that the national team is the most significant thing.
WHY DID RONALDO BEING DROPPED AT THE WORLD CUP RECEIVE SUCH A FALL-OUT?
The Portuguese Football Federation refuted widespread rumours that Ronaldo threatened to abandon the Portugal team for the 2022 World Cup.
After the game, sources in the Portuguese media said that the 37-year-old was about to withdraw from the competition because he was so upset at being left out.
The FPF promptly sought to dispel the rumour, stating that Ronaldo is still dedicated to the group and their objectives for the rest of the competition.
During a chat with Fernando Santos, the national coach, Cristiano Ronaldo reportedly threatened to quit the team, according to news stories published on Thursday.
The FPF makes it clear that during his internship in Qatar, national team captain Cristiano Ronaldo never expressed any intention of leaving the team.
Cristiano Ronaldo “builds up a unique track record every day at the service of the national team and the country, which must be acknowledged and which attests to the undeniable degree of commitment to the national team.”
On Friday, Santos and Joao Felix both shot down rumours of a rift inside the team.
Santos said to the press, “I believe it is time to leave Ronaldo alone. He’s never told me that he wants to leave our national team, so I believe it’s time for us to stop talking about it and stop engaging in pointless debate. On the day of the game, after lunch, we spoke, and I gave him a visit to my office.
“Cristiano, who has usually started games, was understandably unhappy about it. Do you honestly believe it’s a good idea, he asked me? however we had a regular chat in which I expressed my opinions, which he of course accepted. We spoke openly and casually.”
Felix added: “I’d like to address the journalists as well as the people of Portugal. Portugal is participating in an excellent competition. We haven’t advanced to the quarterfinals in a very long time. Instead of attempting to make things worse, we should all be closer to one another.”
WHY DID RONALDO’S ACTIONS AT THE WORLD CUP GET SO MUCH RESPONSE?
We won’t quote every single talking head because everyone has already weighed in on this contentious issue, but here are a few noteworthy quotes from a handful of them.
Gary Neville, a former teammate of Ronaldo’s at Manchester United, slammed the Portuguese star and urged him to stop pouting.
It doesn’t reflect well on him at all, he added, adding that the petulance, stomping, and moping must cease.
“His long-term legacy is established, he’s safe and he’s one of the all-time great players, but in the short term, he needs to do better because… Did the Juventus manager make a mistake? Did the Manchester United manager make a mistake? Did the Portugal manager make a mistake now? Three of them already with him. Behaved in the same way.
In Wright predicts Portugal’s future without Ronaldo after 23-year-old Felix’s impressive performance in win over Switzerland
Ex-England striker Wright said on ITV Sport, “That’s a team that can easily go all the way. “He [Ronaldo] could still genuinely contribute to this team without perhaps having to do too much, because this team can do it without him. Without him, they continued to move. He still has a chance to give them the victory in the championship if he simply gets everything perfect in his thoughts.
Speaking to Sky Bet, Roy Keane offered a partial defence of his old teammate: “Are sportsmen expected to be perfect? Ten years ago, Cristiano Ronaldo had this mentality, but the next time he played, he would score a hat-trick, he would be 27 years old, and everyone would forgive him. Since he departed Juventus a few years ago, the team hasn’t improved, according to others, who claim that he makes teams worse.
“Ronaldo was replaced against Switzerland by a forward who exhibited greater mobility, which was the right move by Portugal’s manager. As soon as Ronaldo scored his third goal, everyone turns to him. The fact that Ronaldo is 37 years old makes me believe there’s a potential he won’t start Portugal’s World Cup quarterfinal game.”