Ronaldo’s bench in the World Cup match against Switzerland
The move came a day after his coach expressed disappointment with his team captain’s attitude in the last game. Gonzalo Ramos, a 21-year-old forward who made his international debut three weeks ago, made his first career start for Portugal in place of Ronaldo at the Lucille Stadium.
Ronaldo took to the field for pre-match warm-ups to loud cheers. He came out alone after the starters, took the substitutes on the field and kicked the ball with them in light practice.
After warming up, Ronaldo walked through the tunnel to the locker room and paused for a photo with a female volunteer. He leaned down and wrapped his arms around her for the picture.
He was smiling as he came back through the tunnel before kickoff wearing a yellow alternate bib. Ronaldo first took an empty seat in the dugout and then took his place on the field for the national anthem. He received a rousing cheer which elicited a small smile from the superstar when it was shown on the big screen inside the stadium.
This is expected to be Ronaldo’s final World Cup.
Ramos, who plays for Portuguese club Benfica, made his debut for Portugal in a friendly against Nigeria last month and scored his only international goal to date. Replaced Ronaldo in the World Cup opener against Ghana and again against Uruguay.
Ramos scored 21 goals for Benfica this year.
Joao Cancelo, a fullback who started all three group stage matches, was also left out of the starting lineup.
After the show came Ronald’s benching There was clear displeasure at being pulled out of the game against South Korea on Friday.
The 37-year-old striker opened the tournament by becoming the first player to score in five different World Cups by scoring against Ghana. But he was ineffective in Portugal’s final two group games and was withdrawn midway through the second half of a 2-1 loss to South Korea.
Ronaldo’s body language indicated the superstar was upset about being kicked out — Portugal coach Fernando Santos remained silent for nearly three days.
Finally, in his press conference on Monday, Santos admitted that Ronaldo’s attitude against South Korea was a distraction — one that pushed him too far.
Ahead of Portugal’s first match at the World Cup, Ronaldo parted ways with Manchester United and was reportedly lured by a Saudi Arabian club with promises of exorbitant wages, and a poll in Portugal showed fans in his home country wanted the superstar out. the lineup
“I didn’t like it, not at all. I didn’t really like it,” Santos said of Ronaldo’s poor attitude towards the game against South Korea on Monday. “We fixed it in-house and that’s it.”
Portugal defender Ruben Dias, meanwhile, pleaded with the Portuguese media to help “build unity” in the camp instead of division. It was Portuguese Daily and Bowler polls that showed the home fans were tired of Ronaldo and preferred not to play against Switzerland.
It is not unprecedented for Ronaldo to get less playing time as the aging superstar has faded of late. He barely played in the Premier League for United in the first half of the season and Santos left him out of the Portugal lineup for the Nations League game against Spain in March.
With Ronaldo, Portugal has reached the World Cup round of 16 in four of his five tournaments, but he has never played in a World Cup final. In 2006 Portugal lost to France in the semi-finals – the deepest Ronaldo reached at the World Cup.
Although he has scored in five tournaments, his total is just eight in 20 World Cup matches. His 118 goals in international play is a world record for men, but Ronaldo has never scored in a World Cup knockout stage.
Lionel Messi, Ronaldo’s biggest rival for years, has scored three goals so far this World Cup to help Argentina reach the quarter-finals. Messi has nine career World Cup goals and, like Ronaldo, has never won the tournament.
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