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Cristiano Ronaldo

Portugal's boss Santos explains why he dropped Cristiano Ronaldo for World Cup clash against Switzerland & claims forward 'set the example as captain'

3:57 AM IST 07/12/22
20221206 Fernando Santos Cristiano Ronaldo
Portugal boss Fernando Santos has said he dropped Cristiano Ronaldo for tactical reasons against Switzerland and insists he remains a great captain.
  • Ronaldo benched vs Switzerland
  • Replacement Ramos scored hat-trick
  • Santos claims decision was strategic

WHAT HAPPENED? Ronaldo had to watch the majority of the game from the sidelines as Portugal cruised their way to a 6-1 thrashing of Switzerland in the World Cup last 16, having been dropped following behavioural issues in their previous fixture against South Korea. Manager Santos has claimed the decision was entirely tactical, with his replacement Goncalo Ramos going on to bag a historic hat-trick.

WHAT HE SAID: Speaking to reporters after the win, Santos insisted: "I already explained it (the situation surrounding Ronaldo being dropped), I won't explain it again. They are different players. It was game strategy, all the players are different, I also launched Dalot, Raphael, however Cancelo is also a fabulous player. It was what I thought that we would need for this match against Switzerland."

He added: "There is no problem between Fernando Santos and the captain of the national team (Ronaldo), we've been friends for many years. Players make decisions. Things don't affect us. I already explained, that part was completely resolved and he set a great example of a great captain."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Ronaldo was visibly frustrated as he was hooked in Portugal's 2-1 defeat to South Korea and looked unhappy again upon arriving to the Lusail Stadium in Qatar for their last 16 tie. The 37-year-old's attitude issues are a constant topic of conversation, particularly following his exit from Manchester United.

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WHAT NEXT FOR PORTUGAL? They have booked a date with Morocco in the tournament's quarter-final. Santos now has a big decision to make regarding whether or not he brings Ronaldo back into his starting XI.