Cristiano Ronaldo received bad news on Tuesday before Portugal’s World Cup match against Switzerland. He was being benched for the start of the Round of 16 game.
The benching came after Ronaldo expressed his frustration with Portugal coach Fernando Santos about being pulled out of the match against South Korea.
Ronaldo’s attitude came into question in the final two matches of the group stage. He started the World Cup with a goal against Ghana and became the first male player to score in five different World Cups. Santos said Monday that Ronaldo’s attitude was becoming a distraction.
“I didn’t like it, not at all. I really didn’t like it,” Santos said. “We fixed that in-house and that’s it.”
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Gonçalo Ramos, who plays for Portugal’s Benfica, will start in Ronaldo’s place in the pivotal match against the Swiss.
Ronaldo did not appear too happy walking into the stadium.
Ronaldo, 37, had been under tremendous scrutiny in the weeks leading up to the World Cup over his departure from Manchester United. He lashed out at the club and its manager in an explosive interview which led to the two sides parting ways.
Ronaldo is now a free agent and has been linked to the Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassar, though no deal has been made official as yet.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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