Ex-Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo should not keep his place in Portugal’s National Team ahead of his country’s last-sixteen match against Switzerland in the Qatar World Cup.
That is according to a recent A Bola poll, which saw a whopping 70% of readers calling for Fernando Santos to drop him for the encounter.
The Athletic had previously reported that Ronaldo maintained a “god-like” status in his home country but now, it appears, the tides are turning.
His performances at the World Cup have been – quite frankly – abysmal. Shockingly so to many Portugal watchers during the tournament.
But the reality is that Ronaldo is playing exactly the same way he played for Manchester United in the run up to Qatar.
Needless offsides, an inability to get away from defenders, and appalling misses on the rare occasion he does fashion a chance for himself, have all been hallmarks of the 2022 Ronaldo.
He still takes a good penalty, mind you, and that skill accounts for his only goal of the tournament thus far.
His ability to affect games has diminished to the point where a player by any other name would have been laughed out of the squad for expecting his teammates to pick up the defensive responsibilities he chooses to eschew.
And with the Portugal captain throwing yet another in a long line of strops after his substitution against South Korea – a match in which he performed terribly – there can’t be many who seriously believe that Ronaldo is worth the trouble he bring.
Indeed, with the wealth of talent in the Portuguese national side, there is a sense that they have made it into the last sixteen in spite of Ronaldo.
Rafael Leao, Joao Felix, Bruno Fernandes, and Bernardo Silva could form an excitingly dynamic attacking quartet, capable of pressing high and flummoxing defenders all the way to the final.
But with Fernando Santos seemingly willing to persist with Ronaldo though the heavens fall, it is unlikely that anyone will get to see it in action for a full match, certainly not without the weight of their albatross.