Bruno Fernandes has defended Cristiano Ronaldoafter his former Manchester United teammate was dropped by Portugal for their crunch World Cupclash with Switzerland – insisting that nobody would be happy to sit out such a crucial match.
Ronaldo had started all three of Portugal’s matches at the tournament in Qatar prior to Tuesday night’s last-16 meeting with Switzerland, but he was dropped to the bench by Fernando Santos.
The 37-year-old’s replacement, Goncalo Ramos, plundered a remarkable hat-trick in the Selecao’s thumping 6-1 win, which could mean Ronaldo is consigned to a supporting role again in the quarter-finals.
Santos’ decision to axe Ronaldo capped a rotten couple of months for the former United star, who agreed to cut his second spell at Old Trafford short a fortnight ago following a public falling outwith Erik ten Hag.
Despite a statement performance, the narrative surrounding Portugal was still dominated by Ronaldo throughout and after the match. But Fernandes has launched a staunch defence of his international colleague – despite the fact there had been suggestions their relationship had become strained following an awkward exchange before the World Cup.
“Do you think anyone likes to be on the bench?” Fernandes responded when he was asked about Ronaldo’s reaction after the match. “I don’t think Cristiano would be happy. If the manager put me on the bench in the next game, I would be angry.”
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