Ronaldo partner speaks out after World Cup snub
Cristiano Ronaldo’s partner Georgina Rodriguez took to Instagram following Portugal’s match with Switzerland to have a dig at manager Fernando Santos for benching the striker for the resounding 6-1 victory in Qatar.
Ronaldo was dropped for the last-16 clash after Santos expressed dismay with the manner in which Ronaldo reacted to being brought off in Portugal’s final group game against South Korea.
The 37-year-old was made to watch on from the dugout against the Swiss, as his 21-year-old replacement Goncalo Ramos became the first player to score a hat-trick in this edition of the World Cup, and the youngest to achieve the feat in its knockout phase since Pele in a Brazil versus France semifinal in 1958.
Ronaldo eventually entered the game with around 20 minutes to spare, as the masses at the Lusail Stadium chanted his name.
After full-time, as Portugal sealed a quarterfinal meeting with Morocco on Saturday, Rodriguez headed to Instagram to congratulate the team but also vent her frustrations.
“Congratulations Portugal. While the 11 players sang the anthem, all eyes were on you. What a shame not to have been able to enjoy the best player in the world for 90 minutes,” the Argentine wrote.
“The fans did not stop asking for you and shouting your name. May God and your dear friend Fernando continue hand in hand and make us vibrate one more night.”
Santos was naturally asked about Ronaldo’s omission in his post-match press conference, and whether the player would have to accept a reduced role in his team’s plans moving forward.
“That is still something that has to be defined,” Santos said. “I have a very close relationship with him, I’ve known him since he was 19 at Sporting. Ronaldo and I never misinterpret the human and personal aspect with that of manager and player. I will always consider that he is a very important player to have in the team.
“[The matter] is something that is finished and solved. It is also important to look at this player’s history, he is one of the best players in the world and therefore all we have to do is come in collectively,” Santos added.
Santos justified his decision to bench Ronaldo by saying that “we wanted a team that played with a lot of fluidity.”
“Cristiano is more fixed, he stays in a more determined role towards the box. Goncalo has different characteristics: he is very dynamic and that’s what he ended up showing us.”
Like his partner, Ronaldo took to Instagram himself, but focused only on praising one of the performances of the tournament.
“Incredible day for Portugal, with a historic result in the biggest competition in world football. [It was a] luxury exhibition of a team full of talent and youth.
“Our national team is to be congratulated. The dream is alive! Until the end! Strength, Portugal!” he wrote.
At the weekend, the sporting world will learn whether Ronaldo has been snubbed again in favor of Ramos against a Moroccan defense that has proven difficult to break down.