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The Portuguese coach Santos asks that limits be established in the case of Ronaldo



Portugal coach Fernando Santos admitted on Friday that Cristiano Ronaldo was unhappy at being left on the bench as he pleaded for a line to be drawn on the matter.

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The veteran forward was a substitute for the first time at a World Cup since 2006 in his team’s round of 16 match against Switzerland, which they won 6-1.

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A report in the Portuguese newspaper Record said Ronaldo had threatened to leave the team after being told he was not in the starting line-up.

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The Portuguese soccer federation denied the report, and Ronaldo himself took to social media to claim the team was “too close to be destroyed by outside forces.

Santos, speaking on the eve of Portugal’s quarterfinal against Morocco, said he had spoken to Ronaldo on the day of the game against Switzerland.

“I invited him into my office and told him ‘you’re not going to be a starter,’ so it wouldn’t be a surprise,” he said.

“I told him it would be important (but) in terms of strategy, I told him ‘you better not play.

‘ I saved it for the second half.

Santos said Ronaldo, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, never threatened to leave the team’s camp, although he was upset at being sent off.

“Cristiano, for obvious reasons, I wasn’t very happy,” Santos said.

“He’s always been a starting player except for one or two games on the bench, obviously he wasn’t happy.

“He told me ‘do you really think this is a good idea?

‘ But we had a normal conversation in which I explained my views.

“Of course, he accepted.

We had a frank and normal conversation, he has never told me that he wanted to leave our team ”.

Santos said Ronaldo showed his commitment to the team by celebrating Portugal’s goals and having the players applaud the fans.

“It is time for us to stop this conversation, stop the controversies,” said the coach, trying to put a limit to the matter.

“It’s about time you left Ronaldo alone, in recognition of what he has done for Portuguese football.

Santos hinted that he could bring the 37-year-old back to the squad to face Morocco on Saturday, saying the North African team would provide a different challenge than Switzerland.

“It’s an extremely well organized team with a lot of quality and potential, and a lot of players in Chelsea, PSG, Bayern,” he said.

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