The former coach of the Portuguese national team, Fernando Santos, revealed the details of the crisis of the legend Cristiano Ronaldo during the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar.
The Portuguese national team was disappointed from the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, in the quarter-finals, at the hands of its Moroccan counterpart, after losing to them with an unanswered goal, a match in which Ronaldo participated as a substitute.
A few days later, the Portuguese Football Federation announced the departure of Fernando Santos and the appointment of Spaniard Roberto Martinez in his place.
The tournament witnessed “The Don” being suddenly ignored by his coach, starting with the 6-1 victory over Switzerland in the 16th round of the competition, where he decided to exclude him from the starting lineup and bring in young striker Goncalo Ramos.
The interesting thing is that Ramos scored a “hat-trick” and the Portuguese team succeeded in presenting an exciting display, before Ronaldo came on as a substitute in the second half, as the fans kept repeating the name “The Don” over and over again until the coach responded.
Santos repeated the matter during the confrontation with Morocco, which opened the door to criticism against him, especially after his early exit from the tournament.
Fernando Santos said in an interview with the Portuguese newspaper “Apola”: “I took the appropriate decision at the time for the benefit of the group, because Ronaldo was returning from a difficult period with Manchester United, in addition to his family circumstances related to the loss of a newborn child.”
He added: “There is no doubt that Ronaldo is the best player in the world and everyone knows that, but I decided to make that decision in order to serve the system as a whole, because the player lacked the consistency of the matches despite his tremendous physical abilities.”
The veteran Portuguese coach continued: “If you ask anyone who is the strongest player in the Portuguese national team from a physical standpoint, the answer will definitely be Ronaldo, and I know that, but his exclusion was strategic after consultation with the technical staff.”
Fernando Santos confirmed that things went well in the match against Switzerland and the desired goal was achieved, pointing out that the match against Morocco was somewhat complicated.
He explained: “I was choosing the formation according to the matches, and it was possible for Ronaldo to participate in the following matches mainly if we qualified, but unfortunately we bid farewell to the tournament at the hands of Morocco and I do not regret making any decision.”
Regarding his relationship with the all-time top scorer in football, Santos said: “Ronaldo is like my son, and we have had a strong relationship since he was 18 years old at Sporting Lisbon, but I have not spoken to him since returning from Qatar.”
He continued: “I love Ronaldo very much and I think he is the best in the world, but I always make decisions without emotion. He was going through a difficult period, as I mentioned.”
Fernando Santos (69 years old) concluded: “I wanted to win the World Cup as I did in Euro 2016, but we failed to make the Portuguese people happy.”
A fan was banned from entering English Premier League stadiums for 3 years
Tottenham, the English Premier League runner-up, announced on Wednesday that it had banned a fan of a visiting team for three years due to racial abuse of its South Korean striker, Heung-Min Son.
The incident occurred during Tottenham’s match against its guest Crystal Palace (1-0) last May.
The police arrested the fan and charged him with committing a racist crime.
The fan, who pleaded guilty, was initially sentenced to 60 hours of community service and a fine.
But police appealed the original ruling after Tottenham raised concerns about leniency, leading to the suspension order being issued.
Tottenham said in a statement: “The club does not tolerate discrimination in all its forms and manifestations, and will always seek to take the strongest possible action against anyone involved in racist incidents.”