Doha: Fernando Sancho, the Portuguese manager, has reprimanded Cristiano Ronaldo for his angry reaction to his substitution against South Korea and there is now serious doubt whether he will start against Switzerland on Tuesday (Wednesday AEDT).
Ronaldo was seen talking and gesturing as he came off the pitch in Portugal’s final group stage match and although both player and manager said immediately after the match it was aimed at a South Korean opponent, Santos confirmed yesterday that he has since had viewed. .
“I saw the footage — I didn’t like it,” said Santos. “Not at all. I really didn’t like it.”
It is highly unusual for Santos, who has been Portugal manager since 2014, to be critical of Ronaldo and also refused to confirm whether his captain would start in the round of 16 against Switzerland at Lusail Stadium.
Ronaldo has started all three of Portugal’s matches to date, scoring once from a controversial penalty, but has been sent off in every game before, culminating in his 65th-minute substitution after a lackluster performance against South Korea.
Santos repeated that he heard Ronaldo talking to a South Korean player when he came out, but stressed that he couldn’t hear everything that was said. Ronaldo himself had denied directing his anger at Santos, saying that “the Korean player told me to leave quickly and I told him to shut up because he has no authority… there was no altercation.” [with Santos]However, reports in the Portuguese media suggested that frustration was being directed at the manager.
“Once the game was over, I went to flash and then went to conference. I repeat: I didn’t hear anything on the field, he was very far away and I only heard him arguing with the Korean,” said Santos.
“These things are resolved at home and from there we think about tomorrow’s game [against Switzerland]what everyone is focused on.”