Portugal boss Fernando Santos insists there is no bad blood between himself and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The former Manchester United forward was dramatically dropped from his national team’s starting XI, beginning their Qatar 2022 World Cup last-16 match against Switzerland on the bench, with his replacement Goncalo Ramos netting an impressive hat-trick in the 6-1 win. Ronaldo was later substituted on at the Lusail Stadium, as his country secured progressing to the last eight of the World Cup.
With Morocco next to come, Ronaldo will hope to cement a recall to the side but may face stiff competition from new kid on the block, Ramos. After he found the net three times, Santos may have to tread carefully to keep the balance as Portugal chases a first-ever World Cup success.
With Ronaldo’s non-inclusion dominating the conversation following the full-time whistle, Santos was quick to quell any suggestions there is bad blood between the pair. “Cristiano and Ramos are different players,” he began. “There is no problem with our captain. We’ve been friends for years. We spoke before the game and he had no issue with my decision.”
Ronaldo agreed to terminate his contract at Old Trafford by mutual consent last month following the bombshell claims he made in his interview with Piers Morgan, during which he criticised Erik ten Hag, the Glazer family, United legends Wayne Rooney and Gary Neville as well as the club’s training facilities. Still yet to find another club following his release, the former Real Madrid man has been linked with a move to Saudi Arabia following the completion of the World Cup later this month.
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