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Portugal bench captain as tough World Cup continues


Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo was left on the bench again, this time for Saturday’s World Cup quarter-final against Morocco, as his frustrating tournament took another turn for the worse.

Ronaldo, who was ruled out of his country’s previous World Cup fixture, once again had to settle for a place as a substitute for Portugal’s last-eight duel at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos blasted Ronaldo’s reaction after being substituted in the 2-1 Group H loss to South Korea and then dropped him for the Round of 16 tie against China. Switzerland, which Portugal won 6-1. Ronaldo’s replacement Goncalo Ramos scored a hat trick in the win and retained his place in the starting XI on Saturday.

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Ronaldo looked visibly frustrated when he was substituted in the 65th minute against South Korea, with cameras capturing the 37-year-old appearing to say: “He’s in a rush to overwhelm me.”

The Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) has denied media reports that Ronaldo threatened to quit the national team following Santos’ decision to drop the captain, who once found the net – a penalty against Ghana in the group stage – in Qatar. The goal marked a rare highlight for Ronaldo at the tournament, making him the first male player to score in five World Cups.

“The FPF clarifies that at no time did the captain of the national team, Cristiano Ronaldo, threaten to leave the national team at any stage in Qatar,” the FPF said.

“A group too united to be broken apart by outside forces,” Ronaldo said in an Instagram post on Thursday. “A nation too brave to be scared off by any opponent. A team in the true sense of the word, who will fight for the dream until the end! Believe us! Go for it, Portugal!”

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Gabrielle Amado believes Fernando Santos will keep Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench in the World Cup quarter-finals.

Ronaldo is at a crossroads in his career and is a free agent in Qatar, after Manchester United agreed to mutually terminate his contract following an explosive TV interview in which he took aim at United manager Erik ten Hag between other targets, including United owners. , the Glazer family. Ten Hag said he only found out Ronaldo wanted to leave the Premier League club after the striker was revealed. interview with TalkTV.

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Reports in Spain claimed on Monday that Ronaldo will play for Al-Nassr from January 1, after signing a 2.5-year deal with the Saudi side, a contract worth 200 million euros per season. . Ronaldo said after the match against Switzerland that the reports were “not true”. While Al-Nassr is the best and only offer Ronaldo has on the table, he hasn’t signed anything with any club, sources have told ESPN.

Portugal’s winners against Morocco will face either England or France in the World Cup semi-finals, with Croatia and Argentina booking their places in their last four on Friday.

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