By Sean Walsh
Portugal manager Fernando Santos has revealed that his decision to dismiss Cristiano Ronaldo for Switzerland’s World Cup round of 16 match was not a personal one.
News broke on Tuesday that the former Man Utd forward would be starting on the bench following his petulant substitution response in the Selecao’s final group stage match against South Korea.
Santos explained earlier this week that he is not a fan of Ronaldo’s behavior during that defeat, and has been asked about his decision to replace the 37-year-old with the inexperienced Goncalo Ramos after he progressed to the quarter-finals.
“Cristiano and Ramos are different players. There are no problems with the captain of the national team,” said Santos.
“It was strategic. Players are different. I even started [Diogo] Dalot, Raphael [Guerreiro]However [Joao] Cancelo is a fabulous player. This is what I thought for the match against Switzerland, in another match it could be different.”
Santos was prompted to give a more detailed explanation to his decision, replying: “Haven’t I already answered this question? There is no problem between Fernando Santos and the national team captain. We have been friends for many years and things have not they concern. The coaches make the decisions. I already explained it, that part was completely resolved and he set the example of a great captain.”
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In Ronaldo’s absence, Ramos scored a memorable hat-trick for Portugal, becoming the youngest player since Pelé to score three goals in the knockout stages of the World Cup.
Selecao’s offensive game was a feast for the eyes. Ronaldo came on in the last 20 minutes and found the back of the net, but his goal was disallowed for offside.
This article was originally posted on 90min.com as Fernando Santos explains why he eliminated Cristiano Ronaldo against Switzerland.
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