World Cup 2022, Portugal defends Ronaldo: “Leave him alone”

Coach Fernando Santos rejects the accusations against CR7

“It has now become a fashion to attack Ronaldo. Yet he was the one who supported the most from the bench: he cheered for all the goals. Leave him alone.” Thus the Portugal coach Fernando Santos defends Cristiano Ronaldo in the crosshairs of critics after the exclusion from the starting 11 in the match with Switzerland, valid for the round of 16 of the world championship and the consequent controversies on his reaction.

“Usually, I only announce the formations to my players in the locker room, just before the various matches. I’ve always done this but on the occasion of the round of 16 match against Switzerland, I spoke first with CR7 -explains the Portuguese coach in the press conference-. He is the captain of the team and he has given a lot to our group: I had to do that one-on-one with him. We talked the day before the game, at lunch, in my office. I had never spoken to Ronaldo alone before that day.” And again: “I told him: ‘Cristiano, I won’t let you start but I think you will still be very important during the match’. Was he happy? Of course not, he has always played as a starter. However, it was a normal, relaxed chat. He never told me, in any way, that he wanted to leave the national team ”.

Fernando Santos also talks about tomorrow’s opponent. “Morocco is a very well organized team, with talented players. They have creativity and are very strong as a team. It will be a very difficult match for us but it will be very complicated for them as well.”