Cristiano Ronaldo has denied any rift with Portugal manager Fernando Santos and said the bad language he used when he was substituted against South Korea was directed towards an opponent.
Ronaldo, who is one goal away from equalling the great Eusebio’s record as Portugal’s all-time top World Cup scorer, looked unhappy when he was substituted.
There were reports that the former Manchester United striker swore at his manager as he left the pitch, but Ronaldo explained what had happened after the game.
“What happened was before my substitution, the South Korea player told me to get off quickly,” Ronaldo was quoted by Reuters as telling reporters.
“I told him to shut up as he doesn’t have that authority. There was no disagreement (with Santos)”.
Santos later agreed with Ronaldo’s version of events.
“I saw the interaction with Korean player, and I have no doubts about what happened,” said the manager.
It was a disappointing end to the group stage for Portugal, but they still finished top of Group H to set up a last-16 clash with Switzerland.
“We’re unhappy. We wanted to go through with a win, we wanted to go through playing good football to keep boosting our confidence,” Santos said.
“We’re not going to lose confidence, this group has confidence, but it’s a warning, a serious warning. Perhaps some positive things could come from this game.”
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