It has been a turbulent last couple of months for former Manchester United superstar and one of the game’s all-time greats Cristiano Ronaldo.
It started with the arrival of Erik ten Hag as new United boss who sought to instill discipline into a fractured squad and ensure the team develop a discernable pattern of play.
His style involved high-energy and work-rate, traits that are not suited to the Portuguese’s game. And after missing pre-season due to personal reasons, the 37-year-old gradually found it difficult to break into the starting line-up of the team.
And soon things turned ugly as Ronaldo refused to come on as a late substitute against Tottenham and it all culminated in an incendiary interview he gave to controversial host Piers Morgan for the world to see.
His unprecedented attacks on the manager, the club and the players left the Old Trafford outfit no choice but to mutually agree a termination.
CR7’s United struggles continue in Portugal camp
The Portugal skipper must have thought this would put an end to his suffering in Manchester and he would not suffer the same disrespect when representing his country at the World Cup.
But a similar scene has come to pass in Qatar as well. After three disappointing group stage outings personally, the coach decided to substitute him early in the dead rubber against South Korea.
And as usual, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner did not take things in the right spirit and Portuguese media CMTV picked up the start striker telling coach Fernando Santos, “You’re in a fucking rush to take me away.”
The Portuguese Football Federation confirmed on Thursday via a statement that Cristiano Ronaldo has never threatened to leave the national team during the 2022 World Cup. pic.twitter.com/h5WmVBGs4L
— CristianoXtra (@CristianoXtra_) December 8, 2022
His public remonstrations did not impress Santos who revealed in a press conference his exact thoughts. “I’ve seen the images of Cristiano’s change and I didn’t like his reaction at all.”
“But from there, these issues are resolved at home and it’s time to think about tomorrow’s game, on which we are all focused,” he concluded.
The decision that the Euro-winning coach ultimately took was deciding to start Benfica hot-shot Goncalo Ramos instead of the sulking Portuguese international.
“In the heat of the conversation with the coach, when he found out that he would not be in the starting eleven… he thought of the worst,” the Portuguese newspaper Record analysed (as relayed by Marca).
CR7’s antics have Portugal on edge
“Ronaldo threatened to leave,” was the headline as things have turned sour even in the national camp, all thanks to one player who has been unable to accept his personal failings, not due to his hard work, but his age which is natural.
The Portuguese publication have also exclusively revealed that the Portuguese sniper threatened to leave during a discussion with the coach, something that has been denied by the Portuguese federation.
And despite the impressive 6-1 thrashing of Switzerland, Ronaldo’s bad mood has carried over onto the training stage as well.
He apparently refused to practice with all the other substitutes and chose to do gym work light the starting players.
It is apparent Portugal are a well-oiled machine without Ronaldo, but can he accept his new reality? It will be interesting to see how all this pans out as Portugal await their quarterfinal showdown with Morocco.