‘Let’s leave Cristiano Ronaldo alone’: Portugal boss Fernando Santos calls for peace as he insists his star player didn’t ask to leave the squad after being benched… though admits the forward wasn’t happy during ‘normal conversation’
Portugal boss Fernando Santos has called for Cristiano Ronaldo to be left alone following reports that the star wanted to leave the squad after being benched for their last-16 victory over Switzerland.
Ronaldo and Portugal both denied reports from the nation that he wanted to pack up his bags and leave their World Cup camp after being dropped to the bench in the aftermath of his angry reaction to being substituted against South Korea.
His manager Fernando Santos has now also come out to deny the reports, insisting they held a ‘normal conversation’ and has called for his player to be given some peace.
Portugal boss Fernando Santos has called for star player Cristiano Ronaldo to be left ‘alone’
In a press conference prior to their last-16 clash with Morocco on Saturday, Santos said: ‘He never told me he wanted to leave. It’s time to finish this and stop. He left the dressing room against Switzerland, warmed up, went out for a run to celebrate the goals with his teammates.
‘He called his teammates to thank them for their effort but he came out and left. He marched alone. Let’s leave Cristiano Ronaldo alone.’
Santos opened up on the conversation with the 37-year-old ahead of the 6-1 victory and admitted that the Portugal captain was not happy to be starting on the bench.
He never told me that he was going to leave. He did not tell me. You have to see how his attitude is. He celebrated the goals with his teammates, thanked the fans.
‘I had a conversation with Cristiano Ronaldo. We talked about the Portuguese team but the only conversation I had was before the match against Switzerland to tell him why he was going to be a substitute.
‘I told him that he was not going to start in the Round of 16. He was not happy with the conversation, as is normal. But it was a normal conversation where everyone showed their point of view. A normal conversation.
“When a player is captain of Portugal and starts on the bench, it’s normal for him not to be happy. When I told him that I wasn’t going to play as a starter, he asked me if it was a good idea.
‘Of course he wasn’t happy. But I assure you that he never wanted to leave.’
More to follow…