Ex-Portugal Coach Santos Reveals Why He Substituted Ronaldo at 2022 World Cup In Recent Interview:
Ex-Portugal manager Fernando Santos has defended his controversial decision to drop Cristiano Ronaldo to the bench during the 2022 FIFA World Cup, insisting it was a “strategic move” that he would repeat if given the chance.
In an interview with A Bola, Santos explained that benching Ronaldo for the round of 16 match against Switzerland was a carefully considered tactic made after discussions with his coaching staff.
“I had to think about the team first. I thought strategically it was the best decision,” Santos said.
The veteran striker had scored only one goal in the group stage matches. His replacement Goncalo Ramos seized the opportunity, netting a hat-trick in Portugal’s 6-1 demolition of Switzerland.
Santos maintained that while the decision was difficult given his close relationship with Ronaldo, external factors could not influence his tactical choices.
“It doesn’t mean Cristiano wouldn’t play later. But the game against Switzerland went so well that it made no sense to change for the next match,” he stated.
“Cristiano and I have not spoken to each other since the Qatar World Cup. My arms are open again to Cristiano Ronaldo, so that our relationship can be as strong as before.” pic.twitter.com/OCc5iH2TMq
— CristianoXtra (@CristianoXtra_) November 8, 2023
The strategic move ultimately backfired when Portugal suffered a shock 1-0 quarterfinal defeat to Morocco, exiting the tournament despite Ronaldo coming off the bench.
But Santos insisted he would still opt to drop Ronaldo again if given a second chance. “I made the same decision! It was a strategic decision,” he reiterated.
How Ronaldo Reacted to Being Benched at World Cup, According to Ex-Portugal Coach
Fernando Santos has shed light on Cristiano Ronaldo’s frustrated reaction to being dropped from Portugal’s starting XI for their crucial 2022 World Cup round of 16 match against Switzerland.
In an interview with A Bola, the former Portugal manager revealed that Ronaldo was visibly upset when informed of the decision the morning of the match.
“When I went to explain that he wouldn’t play and why, he misunderstood. Did I notice his reaction? Of course!” said Santos.
Ronaldo had struggled in the group stage, scoring just once in three games. His replacement Goncalo Ramos excelled, netting a hat-trick in a 6-1 win.
Santos explained that leaving out Portugal’s talisman was agonizing but necessary. “I couldn’t let myself be swayed. He’s like a son or younger brother, but I had to put the team first,” he remarked.
Although the tactical move failed to prevent Portugal’s quarterfinal defeat to Morocco, Santos said he stood by his choice.
“I know it hurt him deeply. Our relationship has been tense since the World Cup exit. But if he called, I’d be here. I know how much it pains him,” Santos stated.
The manager remains hopeful of mending ties with Ronaldo despite the difficult World Cup episode.
Fernando Santos sentó a CR en Qatar y fracasó. Lo fichó Polonia, y a los 6 partidos lo despidieron. Ahora está en par.
Ten Hag desterró a CR y ahora va 8º en Premier y último en el grupo UCL
Y Cristiano Ronaldo, 2º máx goleador de 2023
CR nunca fue el problema
Era la solución. pic.twitter.com/T5WRrytqrT
— El Inmortal 2.0 (SÍGUEME OTRA VEZ ⬇️) (@ElInmortal____2) November 9, 2023
Ronaldo Struggled At Man United Before Joining Al-Nassr Under New Manager Ten Hag
Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United in 2021 was met with great fanfare, but the Portuguese superstar’s second stint at the club has been far from successful.
Ronaldo scored 24 goals in all competitions in his first season back at Old Trafford, but the Red Devils finished sixth in the Premier League and missed out on qualification for the Champions League.
Ronaldo’s second season at United has been even worst. He has scored just three goals in 16 appearances in all competitions, and the team is currently struggling in the Premier League, sitting in ninth place.
There have been a number of reasons for Ronaldo’s struggles at United. One reason is that the team is simply not playing well. United have been inconsistent all season, and they have struggled to create scoring chances for Ronaldo.
Another reason for Ronaldo’s struggles is that he is not getting the same service he received at Juventus. At Juventus, Ronaldo was the team’s main focal point, and he was always getting the ball in dangerous positions. However, at United, Ronaldo is often having to drop deep to get involved in the game, and he is not getting as many scoring chances.
Ronaldo’s age is also a factor in his struggles. At 37 years old, Ronaldo is not the same player he was when he first arrived at United in 2003. He is not as quick or as agile as he used to be, and he is not able to press as high up the pitch.
Ten Hag has been criticized for not able to deliver result then and even now, he was unabled to utilize Ronaldo correctly made lots of error and same story now Man United are currently facing a worst start of a season in 30 years of club’s history that’s the current situation for Manchester United.
Al- Nassr Signed Ronaldo In Record Breaking €200m deal From Man United
On Friday, August 5, 2023, Cristiano Ronaldo signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with Al Nassr in a deal worth €200m, making him the highest-paid player in football history.
The 37-year-old Portuguese superstar left Manchester United after a disappointing second spell at the club, where he scored just three goals in 16 appearances in all competitions this season.
Ronaldo’s move to Al Nassr is a major coup for the Saudi Arabian club, who are one of the most successful in the country, having won the Saudi Pro League nine times. They are also the current holders of the AFC Champions League.
Cristiano Ronaldo no ha dicho una sola palabra sobre lo ocurrido con Fernando Santos a pesar de la traición, ha sido respetuoso y se ha dedicado a seguir jugando al fútbol, metiendo goles y triunfando con Portugal y AlNassr para callar bocas como los traidores de Santos y Ten Hag pic.twitter.com/Os26WSxEPd
— Blue (@BlueboyCR7) November 8, 2023
Ronaldo’s Current Stats At Al-Nassr
Cristiano Ronaldo has made a sensational start to his career at Al-Nassr, scoring 35 goals in 41 appearances since joining the Saudi Arabian club in January 2023. The Portuguese superstar has already broken several records, including becoming the fastest player to reach 20 goals in the Saudi Pro League.
Ronaldo has been a revelation for Al-Nassr, helping them to win the Arab Club Champions Cup and challenge for the Saudi Pro League title. He has also been named the Saudi Pro League Player of the Month once.
Ronaldo’s stats at Al-Nassr-
- Saudi Pro League: 27 appearances, 24 goals, 7 assists
- King’s Cup: 3 appearances, 0 goals, 1 assist
- AFC Champions League: 3 appearances, 2 goals, 0 assists
- Arab Club Champions Cup: 4 appearances, 7 goals, 0 assists
- Total: 41 appearances, 35 goals, 8 assists
What’s Next For Ronaldo In Al- Nassr?
Al-Nassr have AFC Champions League match against Al-Wehda Tomorrow.