Portugal boss explains why he decided to drop Cristiano Ronaldo
"I never confuse the human and personal aspect with the coach and player relationship."
Portugal boss Fernando Santos decided to drop Cristiano Ronaldo to the bench for their World Cup last 16 tie with Switzerland.
Ronaldo had started all three of Portugal's games so far in the tournament, scoring once in the opening game from a spot kick, and nearly scoring against Uruguay although video technology confirmed that the goal belonged to his teammate Bruno Fernandes.
The five time Ballon d'or winner was substituted against South Korea however, and he appeared to be visibly disgruntled by the decision.
Many believe that it was this reaction from the Portugal captain that lead to him being dropped, but Santos has said that the decision was “strategic and nothing more.”
When pressed to talk about Ronaldo's reaction against South Korea, he reiterated that that was a separate incident, and had been dealt with.
“I said that it was closed and it was closed. Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the best players in the world playing professionally and as a captain … so we have to just think about this team collectively,” he said
“I have a very close relationship I always have, known him since he was 19 at Sporting, and then for years here in the national squad.
“Ronaldo and I never confuse the human and personal aspect with the coach and player relationship. He is a very important player to have in the team.”
Portugal will play Morocco in the quarter finals of the World Cup, and although it would be seen as a favourable draw, their impressive performance against Spain proves that you can't take them lightly.
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