Cristiano Ronaldo DID threaten to walk out on the World Cup, say Portuguese paper who first broke the story as they back their sources despite FA denial… and reveal more details of his ‘tough, tense, heated’ Fernando Santos talks
Cristiano Ronaldo did threaten to leave the World Cup during a ‘heated’ discussion with Fernando Santos before slowly trying to calm the situation down, claims the Portuguese paper who first broke the story.
Explosive reports in Record on Thursday alleged that the 37-year-old was ready to walk out on Portugal’s campaign in Qatar after discovering he would not start their last-16 tie against Switzerland earlier this week.
The Portuguese FA quickly denied the story, saying that Ronaldo – who has been ‘causing more friction in camp due to his personal assistant’s presence – ‘builds up a unique track record every day at the service of the national team and the country, which must be respected and which attests to the unquestionable degree of commitment to the national team.’ Ronaldo himself also rubbished any suggestions that he is not committed to the cause.
Cristiano Ronaldo did threaten to walk out of the World Cup, insist Portuguese paper Record
However, Record have now gone into further detail to back up their original version of events – insisting that Ronaldo briefly discussed leaving Qatar after finding out he would not be included in Santos’ starting line-up.
Their latest report describes a ‘tense, heated conversation’ between the pair when Santos informed Ronaldo of his team selection 24 hours prior to the Switzerland match, which sparked an ‘outburst’ from the Portugal captain.
Santos has previously revealed that he usually names his starting XI after arriving at the stadium, though in this particular case he deemed it necessary to give Ronaldo the heads up the day before.
While he did threaten to walk out on Portugal, the story clarifies that Ronaldo did not ‘go from door to door saying that he wanted to leave’.
The Portuguese FA denied claims that Ronaldo considered quitting his country’s campaign
But Record insist he briefly mentioned doing so during a tense chat with Fernando Santos
That was before the 37-year-old slowly accepted Santos’ decision and got behind the team
Instead, the former Manchester United star is said to have mentioned it in passing to Santos before deciding not to follow up on the threat.
The news left him in a sour mood up until Tuesday’s match, yet as the hours ticked down before kick-off he slowly accepted Santos’ decision, meaning there was no disharmony in the camp when Portugal geared up for their last-16 battle.
Ronaldo is also understood to have urged his team-mates to go over and thank their supporters after dismantling Switzerland 6-1, despite certain images appearing to show him walking off the field alone.
There is an effort on his part to defuse the situation, with both he and Portugal now desperate to bury it ahead of their crucial quarter-final against Morocco on Saturday.
Nevertheless, the publication remains adamant that there was a tense discussion between Ronaldo and Santos which saw the former briefly threaten to leave Qatar.
Record journalist Sérgio Krithinas has backed up their original version of events in Qatar
However, Ronaldo’s Portugal team-mates are also reportedly growing uneasy about the presence of his personal manager Ricky Regufe (pictured here with the squad)
Record’s latest story also alleges that he is causing friction in the Portugal dressing room, with his team-mates questioning why their captain’s personal manager – Ricky Regufe – has formed part of their entourage at the tournament.
Santos’ team are reportedly growing uneasy about the presence of Regufe, who is believed to have ‘excessive influence’ after becoming Ronaldo’s personal manager in 2018.
A number of stars ‘do not understand the reason’ for him joining up with the squad, with Regufe said to be sharing spaces which should be designated for players, while some are questioning why he is always in close proximity with the team.
Another reason they are not best pleased, Record claim, is that no other players in the squad were allowed to take guests with them to Portugal’s World Cup camp.