Rumours that Cristiano Ronaldo threatened to walk out on the Portugal team at the 2022 World Cup have been denied by the Portuguese Football Federation.
Following the match, reports in the Portuguese press emerged claiming that the 37-year-old was so displeased at his exclusion that he was on the brink of quitting the tournament.
“News released this Thursday reports that Cristiano Ronaldo threatened to leave the national team during a conversation with Fernando Santos, national coach.
“The FPF clarifies that at no time did the captain of the national team, Cristiano Ronaldo, threaten to leave the national team during the internship in Qatar.
“Cristiano Ronaldo builds up a unique track record every day at the service of the national team and the country, which must be respected and which attests to the unquestionable degree of commitment to the national team.”
Ronaldo, who had started all three group matches in the tournament, scoring once, looked to have been displeased when he was substituted in Portugal’s 2-1 defeat by South Korea.
Raising his finger to his lips, the player claimed he was directing his ire toward an opposition player, although many interpreted it to be towards his manager Fernando Santos.
Ronaldo’s replacement Concalo Ramos responded to his call-up with a hat-trick, in addition to goals from Pepe, Raphael Guerreiro and Rafael Leao, which seemed to suggest the captain was not necessarily missed as Portugal marched into the last eight.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is currently without a club after being released by Manchester United in the wake of a controversial interview with Talk TV in which he criticised the club and manager Erik ten Hag.
“The petulance, the stomping around, the sulking… it’s got to stop because it doesn’t reflect well on him at all,” he said.
“There’s three of them that now have done the same thing with him.”
Portugal next face Morocco for a place in the semi-finals on Friday, December 9 at the Al Thumama Stadium.
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