Didn’t like it at all’ – Portugal boss disappointed at Cristiano Ronaldo’s reaction to being substituted

December 6, 2022

Former Man United striker Cristiano Ronaldo was taken off in Portugal’s 2-1 World Cup defeat to South Korea on Friday.

Portugal manager Fernando Santos admitted that he wasn’t impressed by Cristiano Ronaldo’s reaction to being substituted during their 2-1 defeat by South Korea.

The former Manchester United striker was replaced by Andre Silva in the 65th minute of the final group stage match on Friday, and the 37-year-old didn’t appear to be pleased about being taken off.

Ronaldo has scored just one goal for Portugal at the World Cup in Qatar, which came in the opening game against Ghana. The veteran frontman converted from the spot in the second period as the European outfit secured a 3-2 victory over the African side to start their tournament with a victory.

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Portuguese media suggested that Ronaldo had criticised his manager as he left the field, but the 37-year-old insisted that there was no problem with the boss.

While Santos suggested that he wasn’t pleased with Ronaldo’s reaction, he insisted the issue had been resolved ahead of Portugal’s last-16 tie with Switzerland on Tuesday.

“Let’s split this answer in two,” Santos said at his press conference on Monday. “Right after the match, I spoke in the flash interview, and then went to the press conference, and there I said something I’ll repeat here: on the pitch, I didn’t hear anything.

“I was too far [away], and this is why I only saw him arguing with a South Korean player, and nothing else. Have I already watched the footage? Yes. I didn’t like it. Didn’t like it at all.

“From there, it’s things you sort out internally. It was sorted out this way, and now we think about the game tomorrow. Everyone is focused on the game.”

Discussing whether Ronaldo would start against Switzerland following the incident, Santos added: “I only tell the team who will play in the dressing room.

“When we’re in the stadium they find out about the team. And they know that. It’s been like this since I arrived.

“I will start the team that I think should play. It’s what I’ve been doing my entire life. I’m OK with myself, have no problem. I stay with my conscience.

“Maybe after the match I reflect on it that I might have taken a different decision. But it’s been like this since I arrived in 2014.

I only think about what’s good for Portugal and the national team. And the [Ronaldo] topic is done, we sorted it out internally. It’s all sorted out.”

Portugal had already secured their place in the Round of 16 ahead of Friday’s game, but Ronaldo was frustrated about being substituted with the game level at 1-1.