Portugal coach: Ronaldo did not threaten to leave World Cup

Dec 8, 2022, 3:28 PM | Updated: Dec 9, 2022, 8:33 am
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo walks out from the pitch after the World Cup round of 16 soccer match ...

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo walks out from the pitch after the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Portugal and Switzerland, at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. Portugal defeated Switzerland 6-1. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

(AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

              Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, center, plays the ball with teammates during his team training session at the World Cup in Doha, Qatar, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
            
              Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo walks out from the pitch after the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Portugal and Switzerland, at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. Portugal defeated Switzerland 6-1. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
            
              Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo plays a ball during his team training session during the World Cup in Doha, Qatar, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
            
              Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo look on during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Portugal and Switzerland, at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo did not threaten to leave the World Cup after being dropped from the starting lineup to play Switzerland in the round of 16, Portugal coach Fernando Santos said Friday.

Santos did acknowledge his star player was “not happy” to be told he was not in the starting lineup in a private meeting on Tuesday after lunch, hours before the game.

Ronaldo’s replacement Gonçalo Ramos scored three goals in 6-1 win. The all-time leading scorer for Portugal came off the bench in the 74th minute.

“Cristiano obviously was not very happy about it. He told me ‘Do you really think it’s a good idea?'” Santos said one day before facing Morocco in the quarterfinals.

“He has never told me that he wanted to leave the national team,” Santos said in translated comments, dismissing reports in Portuguese media. “It is time we stopped with this conversation and the controversies. He celebrated all the goals that we scored.”

“It is time for you to leave Ronaldo alone in acknowledgement of what he did for Portuguese football,” the coach said.

Santos declined to say if he would change the team and restore Ronaldo to face Morocco.

___

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Portugal coach: Ronaldo did not threaten to leave World Cup