Portugal manager Fernando Santos has revealed the real reason he kept Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench in their 6-1 whitewashing of Switzerland in the Round of 16 of the FIFA World Cup on Tuesday.
He said the 37-year-old Portugal captain was not dropped because of his attitude, as widely reported, but because of his tactical approach to the game.
It was reported that the manager had dropped Ronaldo after the former Manchester United star sulked after being subbed off in the defeat to South Korea in their last group game.
Santos chose 21-year-old Goncalo Ramos ahead of the likes of Andre Silva and Rafael Leao.
It was Ramos’ very first start for his country, but the risk paid off after the Benfica star netted a stunning hat trick.
Santos was asked why exactly he dropped his star man on the bench, and the manager said that his captain and friend Ronaldo is a different player from the hero of the night, Ramos, insisting that “there is no problem with the captain of the national team."
“It was strategic." Players are different. I also started [Diogo] Dalot and Raphael [Guerreiro], but [Joao] Cancelo is a fabulous player.
“That’s what I thought for the game against Switzerland; in another game, it might be different."
“[I and Ronaldo] have been friends for many years, and things don’t affect us.”
Santos explained that it was only his duty as a manager to make certain decisions to put his team in better positions to win games, insisting that he has no problem with Ronaldo.
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