What will happen to Cristiano Ronaldo at the World Cup and why he was benched by Portugal?

Dec 7, 2022

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At the Qatar 2022 World Cup, Cristiano Ronaldo was shockingly benched for Portugal’s match against Switzerland in the round of 16.

It happened after his irate outburst when he was replaced in the last group match against South Korea and amid rumors that Portugal would perform better without him.

For the first time since the Euro 2000 semi finals, Portugal had to play in a tournament final match without Ronaldo in the lineup.

He did not seem to be missed by Portugal, who defeated Switzerland 6-1 behind a hat trick from Goncalo Ramos, 21, who took his position in the lineup.

What happened to South Korea?

In the 65th minute of Portugal’s final group match against South Korea, a frustrated Ronaldo was replaced.

He made the sign for “be silent” by putting his finger to his lips.

Whatever the cause, the 37-year-old has reacted angrily to being substituted out of a game before. He then claimed that Cho Gue-sung of Korea had told him to hurry up and leave the field.

What was Portugal’s manager’s response?

Fernando Santos, the manager of Portugal, discussed the event prior to the match against Switzerland.

“Have I seen the images? Yes, I didn’t like it, not at all. I didn’t like it. I really didn’t like it. But from that moment onwards everything is finished regarding that issue. These matters are resolved behind closed doors. It’s resolved.

“Full stop on this matter and now everyone is focused on tomorrow’s match.”

Santos remained mum on whether Ronaldo will continue to lead Portugal throughout the competition.

Was Ronaldo’s inclusion on the bench unexpected?

No, not in a strictly football sense. Ronaldo is obviously past his prime, and Portugal will suffer greatly because of his improper pressing. Although he continues to be an excellent finisher, it is now widely acknowledged that he has had a bad overall impact on Portugal.

He is Ronaldo, after all, one of the greatest players in history and the leading scorer in the annals of world football.

In addition, he is a world-renowned celebrity with unmatched commercial appeal. Therefore, it was still a big call.

Who took his place?

Ramos replaced Ronaldo as a team member. He represented Benfica and participated in Portugal’s fourth game against Switzerland. Ramos made his World Cup debut versus Ghana and Uruguay in the qualifying rounds as a substitute.

How did Ramos do?

Grandiosity. He led Portugal to a comfortable quarterfinal victory with a hat trick of goals.

Remember that Ronaldo never has scored in the World Cup’s knockout rounds, while the player he was substituted for has three goals.

When and how Ronaldo was first introduced.

Ronaldo entered the game in the 73rd round but was unable to score. He was a familiar sight powering a free kick against the wall before having a goal disallowed for being clearly offside.

He failed to get on the ends of crosses into the box throughout the remainder of the game, cutting a disappointed figure.

So, what is next?

On Saturday, Portugal takes on Morocco in the quarterfinals. It would seem highly unlikely that Ronaldo will restore his spot in the starting lineup, especially at Ramos’ expense, given the evidence from the Switzerland game.

Ronaldo will undoubtedly feel sick to his stomach at the prospect of playing only a little role in the remaining World Cup matches.

After the World Cup, will he sign with a new team?

Al-Hilal, a Saudi Arabian club, is said to be eager to sign Ronaldo and willing to pay an eye-watering $209 million (£173 million) for his services. 

Another question is if Ronaldo will consent to their advances.

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