Fernando Santos, the Portugal coach, has declared that “it is time to leave in peace” his captain Cristiano Ronaldo.
Santos made the remarks while refuting accusations that Ronaldo had threatened to leave the Portugal team at the World Cup in Qatar.
Remember that reports surfaced that Ronaldo threatened to leave Portugal’s World Cup squad after Santos benched him in their 6-1 win over Switzerland in the round of 16.
The Portuguese FA has since denied the reports, insisting that Ronaldo never threatened to leave the team during a conversation with Santos.
However, speaking about the development during his press conference ahead of Portugal’s World Cup quarterfinal match with Morocco on Saturday, Santos clarified the situation with Ronaldo himself.
He said: “I think it is time to leave Ronaldo alone.
“He has never told me that he wanted to leave our team, and I think it is time that we stop with this conversation, that we stop with the controversies.”
Explaining how he broke the news that Ronaldo would be benched against Switzerland, Santos said: “I spoke to him after lunch on game day and invited him to my office.
“For obvious reasons, Cristiano was not very happy with it, since he has always been the starting player. He said to me: ‘Do you really think that’s a good idea?’ but we had a normal conversation in which I explained my views to him and of course he accepted them.
“We had a frank and normal conversation.”