Portugal have released a statement to respond to claims in the press that Cristiano Ronaldo “threatened to leave the national team”.
Ronaldo appeared to react angrily to being substituted in Portugal’s loss to South Korea in their final Group H match despite the former Manchester United striker claiming he was annoyed at something an opposition player had said to him.
Fernando Santos then dropped Ronaldo for their last-16 match against Switzerland with the striker’s replacement, Goncalo Ramos, netting a hat-trick in a 6-1 win on Tuesday December 6.
Santos admitted after the clash with South Korea that he didn’t like Ronaldo’s reaction to coming off with Portuguese channel CMTV insisting that the 37-year-old said to the Portugal coach: “You’re in a f*cking hurry to take me off”.
And Portuguese newspaper Record has claimed that Ronaldo was so livid about being left out against Switzerland that he had a row with Santos and asked to leave the national team setup.
But Portugal FA has now released a statement to deny those claims ahead of their quarter-final clash with Morocco on Saturday.
The statement read: “News released on Thursday claims Cristiano Ronaldo threatened to leave the national team during a conversation with national coach Fernando Santos. The FPF wants to clarify that at no time did national team captain Cristiano Ronaldo threaten to leave the national team during the tournament in Qatar.
“Cristiano Ronaldo continues to build on his unique record of service to the national team, which should be respected and which attests to his unquestionable degree of commitment to the national team.”
The statement added: “The national team – players, coaches and the FPF structure – are fully committed and enthusiastic, as has been the case since day one, to building what we hope will be Portugal’s best-ever World Cup.”