Real reason I didn’t start Ronaldo in our 6-1 victory over Switzerland: Santos, Portugal’s manager
The real reason Cristiano Ronaldo was benched during Tuesday's 6-1 rout of Switzerland in the FIFA World Cup Round of 16 has been revealed by Portugal manager Fernando Santos.
According to him, the 37-year-old captain of Portugal was not benched due to his attitude, as was widely reported, but rather because of his tactical approach to the game.
It was claimed that the manager benched Ronaldo after the former Manchester United star pouted after being replaced in their last group game against South Korea.
Goncalo Ramos, a 21-year-old, was selected by Santos over players like Rafael Leao and Andre Silva.
Ramos was making his first ever start for his nation, but the gamble paid off as the Benfica star scored an incredible hat trick.
When Santos was questioned about why he decided to bench his top player, the manager responded that Ronaldo, a friend and the team's captain, is a different player than Ramos, the game's MVP, and insisted that “there is no issue with the captain of the national team.”
“It was tactical. Player diversity exists. I also started Raphael [Guerreiro] and Diogo Dalot, but [Joao] Cancelo is a fantastic player.
“That's what I figured for the game against Switzerland; it might be different in another game.
Since we've known one other for a very long time, things don't bother us.
Santos insisted that he has no issue with Ronaldo and that it is merely his responsibility as a manager to make certain decisions that would best position his squad to win games.