The Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) has finally reacted to claims online that their skipper Cristiano Ronaldo has threatened the team to leave them. The team denied that the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star threatened to leave the World Cup. Portuguese publication said the 37-year-old forward made the threat after being told he would not start their last-16 game against Switzerland.
Portuguese Board Denies Media Claims of Ronaldo Leaving the Team
In the previous game against South Korea, the Portuguese star reacted angrily when he was substituted. The FPF said: “At no time did Cristiano Ronaldo threaten to leave the national team during his stay in Qatar.” Ronaldo left Manchester United by mutual agreement before Portugal’s World Cup opener after a controversy in which the five-time Ballon d’Or winner criticised the club.
He was substituted off the field in both of Portugal’s opening games and coach Fernando Santos said he “didn’t like” Ronaldo’s reaction when he was again replaced during the 2-1 group defeat by South Korea. Goncalo Ramos started instead of Ronaldo against Switzerland and the 21-year-old scored a hat-trick in the 6-1 victory.
The star player, who is Portugal’s most-capped player (195) and all-time leading goalscorer (118), was used as a late substitute in that game but, afterwards left the field while his teammates were still celebrating. “Cristiano Ronaldo builds up a unique track record every day at the service of the national team and the country, which must be respected,” added the FPF.
“The degree of dedication of the player most capped by Portugal was again demonstrated – if necessary – in the victory against Switzerland, in the round of 16 of the 2022 World Cup.” Portugal faces Morocco in the quarter-finals on Saturday (15:00 GMT). Ronaldo did not train with the other substitutes after Wednesday’s game, instead taking part in a gym session alongside those that started against Switzerland.