How Ronaldo Reacted to Being Benched for World Cup Last 16, According to Ex Portugal Coach

How Ronaldo Reacted to Being Benched for World Cup Last 16, According to Ex Portugal Coach

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
November 9, 2023 at 7:39 AM
  • Fernando Santos has described Cristiano Ronaldo's reaction to being benched at Qatar 2022
  • The ex-Portugal coach eventually saw his side crash out of the Mundial in the last 8
  • Santos also confirmed that the decision had affected his relationship with the Al-Nassr captain

Former Portugal manager Fernando Santos has provided insight into Cristiano Ronaldo's reaction following his exclusion from the starting line-up during the 2022 World Cup round-of-16 clash against Switzerland.

Ronaldo's performance in the group stage had been lacklustre at the Mundial, having managed only one goal in three matches, leading to the manager's somewhat difficult decision to bench him for the crucial tie.

Fernando Santos, Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal, Switzerland, bench, World Cup
Fernando Santos tried to console a crestfallen Cristiano Ronaldo after Portugal crashed out of the 2022 World Cup. Photo by Michael Steele
Source: Getty Images

The opportunity was seized by Benfica striker, Goncalo Ramos - currently plying his trade at PSG - who netted a hat-trick in a convincing 6-1 victory, solidifying his position in the team and keeping Ronaldo on the sidelines for the subsequent quarter-final match against Morocco.

However, the Portuguese team faced an unexpected defeat, exiting the tournament with a 1-0 loss at the last 8 stage despite Ronaldo's introduction in the second half, as cited by SportsMax.

Santos, who was relieved of his managerial duties shortly after the tournament, disclosed that Ronaldo responded to the decision with visible frustration.

According to the 69-year-old tactician, speaking to the publication A Bola (via Globo), the veteran's displeasure was evident in his reaction to the situation.

"Now, it is true that on the day of the game, in the morning, when I went to explain to him that he was not going to play and why he was not going to play, he misunderstood. If I notice his reaction? I get it!"

Santos, who is currently jobless after being dismissed from his position with Poland, outlined the circumstances that compelled him to 'hurt' his key player.

"I have already mentioned that that period was of great anxiety for him. I realise the reaction because, for him, he is a great friend who leaves him out. But I couldn't guide myself around, you know? I'm still the same with him. For my part, the relationship is the same, and he continues to be like a son or a younger brother to me."

Santos also stated that their rapport has been tense since Portugal's World Cup exit, but he remains optimistic they could still mend the situation.

"The day the phone rings, he always knows I'm here. That's guaranteed. I know it hurts. I know it hurts a lot. But that's how life is," he concluded.

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Ronaldo 'lies' about Portugal winning WC

Sports Brief also reported on Ronaldo not believing Portugal can win the FIFA World Cup, according to a lie detector test conducted on the veteran in collaboration with Binance.

When asked about his nation's chances of winning the trophy, the 38-year-old responded in an affirmative. However, the polygraph test revealed that his answer was not truthful.

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe photo
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe is a Ligue 1, Bundesliga, and La Liga editor with five-year experience. He previously worked with Sports Corna and 360SportsGH.
Cristiano RonaldoWorldWorld Cup2022 FIFA World Cup