Portugal coach Fernando Santos has revealed why he started Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench in their World Cup last 16 tie with Switzerland.
The 37-year-old was replaced by the inexperienced Goncalo Ramos who netted a hat-trick in the 6-1 victory against the Swiss side.
There were reports suggesting the first XI snub was a result of the player’s petulant response to being substituted in the previous game, a group stage match against South Korea.
Santos was not impressed by the incident and criticised the player for his behavior.
But the gaffer has revealed that the reason to bench his captain had nothing to do with the incident, rather a tactical change.
“Cristiano and Ramos are different players. There is no problem with the captain of the national team,” Santos said after the game.
“It was strategic. Players are different. I also started [Diogo] Dalot, Raphael [Guerreiro], however [Joao] Cancelo is a fabulous player. That’s what I thought for the game against Switzerland, in another game it might be different.”
Santos was pushed for a more-detailed explanation behind his decision, replying: “Didn’t I already answer this question? There is no problem between Fernando Santos and the captain of the national team. We’ve been friends for many years and things don’t affect us. Coaches make decisions. I already explained, that part was completely resolved and he set an example of a great captain.”- Soccer24 Zimbabwe