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    Portugal boss Fernando Santos says Cristiano Ronaldo’s role “has to be defined’ after he started on the bench against Switzerland

    Football   |   December 7, 2022

    Portugal soared past the Swiss challenge in the FIFA World Cup round of 16 clash as they blew Shaqiri and company 6-1 to move to the quarterfinals. It was Cristiano Ronaldo’s replacement Goncalo Ramos who stood up and scored a brilliant hattrick against Switzerland in his first World Cup start. Apart from Ramos, Pepe scored a towering header at the age of 40 whereas Raphael Guerreiro and Rafael Leao both scored one each to make it six.

    Manuel Akanji scored a mere consolation near the hour mark as Switzerland surrendered to a much fluid Portugal in the round of 16. Cristiano Ronaldo saw the proceedings sitting on the sidelines as he was brought on later when the game was already sealed by the youngsters.

    Ronaldo was left on the bench for the first time in a major tournament since the Euros 2008. He however came on in the 74th minute to a very loud cheer from the fans at the stadium. The 37-year-old recently had some issues at club level in Manchester United where he gave an interview to Piers Morgan and shared some thoughts about the club and the manager and others which were extremely unprofessional and uncalled for and hence the club has broken all ties with him.

    In the World Cup campaign as well Fernando Santos was not happy with the way Ronaldo reacted after he was subbed out in their penultimate group stage game against South Korea.

    When asked about Ronaldo’s exclusion from the starting eleven, Santos shared how he has great understanding with the player. Hence he stated, “That is still something that has to be defined.”

    “I have a very close relationship with him – I always have, I have known him since he was 19 years old,” he added. “This relationship only develops, Ronaldo and I never interpret the human aspect of that of manager and player (in relation to) what we have to do during the match.”

    When quizzed about his position in the upcoming Morocco game in the quarterfinals, Fernando Santos shared how the experienced forward will be definitely involved but after Ramos’ hattrick it looks tough for the 37-year-old to get another start in this World Cup. “Ronaldo will definitely (be involved), all the players on the bench can be used, if they are not in the starting line-up they can play later.

    “It is important to look at the example of this player’s history, he is one of the best players in the world at playing professionally, being captain – all we have to do is think about this team collectively,” he concluded.

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