DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo has been dropped from Portugal’s starting lineup for the second consecutive World Cup game.
Ronaldo, 37, will not start the quarter-final match against Morocco on Saturday after starting on the bench and then coming on in the round of 16 against Switzerland.
Gonçalo Ramos, who scored a hat trick on Tuesday in Portugal’s 6-1 win over Switzerland in his first start for Portugal, was again selected ahead of Ronaldo.
Ronaldo is playing in his fifth and probably last World Cup.
He was dropped from training against the Swiss after coach Fernando Santos expressed frustration with his team captain’s attitude in the previous game.
Santos later said Ronaldo was “not happy” to learn he was on the bench, but never threatened to quit the World Cup because of the move.
Ronaldo, the all-time top scorer in men’s international football with 118 goals, finally came on in the 74th minute. He had seemed somewhat disconnected from the rest of the team after the game and had already shown a bad attitude after being substituted in the last group game against South Korea.
Ronaldo was coming off a lackluster performance in the group stage, although he scored in the 3-2 win over Ghana to become the first player to score in five World Cups. He has played in every edition of the tournament since 2006.
Portugal’s other starters against Morocco at Al Thumama Stadium were João Félix, Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes and Otávio.
Portugal are trying to reach the last four for the third time, having finished third in 1966 and fourth in 2006. They had not progressed beyond the knockout stages since that tournament in Germany 16 years ago.
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