Portugal release statement in response to claims Ronaldo ‘threatened to leave the national team’

Joe Williams
Cristiano Ronaldo shouts back at a South Korean player

Portugal have released a statement in response to claims in the press that Cristiano Ronaldo “threatened to leave the national team”.

Ronaldo appeared to react angrily to being substituted in Portugal’s loss to South Korea in their final Group H match despite the former Manchester United striker claiming he was annoyed at something an opposition player had said to him.

Fernando Santos then dropped Ronaldo for their last-16 match against Switzerland in which the striker’s replacement, Goncalo Ramos, netted a hat-trick in a 6-1 win.

Santos admitted after the clash with South Korea that he didn’t like Ronaldo’s reaction to coming off with Portuguese channel CMTV insisting that the 37-year-old said to the Portugal coach: “You’re in a f*cking hurry to take me off”.

And Portuguese newspaper Record has claimed that Ronaldo was so livid about being left out against Switzerland that he had a row with Santos and asked to leave the national team setup.

But Portugal have felt the need to release a statement to deny those claims ahead of their quarter-final clash with Morocco on Saturday.

The statement read: “News released on Thursday claims Cristiano Ronaldo threatened to leave the national team during a conversation with national coach Fernando Santos. The FPF wants to clarify that at no time did national team captain Cristiano Ronaldo threaten to leave the national team during the tournament in Qatar.

“Cristiano Ronaldo continues to build on his unique record of service to the national team, which should be respected and which attests to his unquestionable degree of commitment to the national team.”

The statement added: “The national team – players, coaches and the FPF structure – are fully committed and enthusiastic, as has been the case since day one, to building what we hope will be Portugal’s best ever World Cup.”

Gary Neville has urged Ronaldo to stop the “petulance” that has plagued the latter stages of his career after leaving Manchester United by mutual agreement last month.

“Well what happened at United, the suggestion was, it was because [Erik] Ten Hag was trying to make a move on him, he’s trying to establish his authority,” Neville told ITV.

“This is a manager [Santos] who’s got an unbelievable relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo for eight years.

“And there are a lot of fans of Cristiano Ronaldo who aren’t willing to tell him the truth. I think he does need to listen to the truth, that it’s becoming a little bit of a scruffy end.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if he came on tonight and scored the winner, but the petulance, the stomping around, the sulking it’s got to stop because it doesn’t reflect well on him at all.

“His long term legacy is set, he’s protected. He’s one of the great all time players but in the short term, he’s got to do a lot better.

“Is the Juventus manager wrong? The Manchester United manager wrong? And now is the Portugal manager wrong? There’s three of them that now have done the same thing with him.”

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