Cristiano Ronaldo’s position for the rest of the World Cup is one thing that needs to be “outlined”, Portugal boss Fernando Santos stated after dropping his captain for his or her emphatic last-16 win over Switzerland.
The 37-year-old was solely named on the bench as Benfica ahead Goncalo Ramos – who hit a hat-trick on his full debut to safe a snug 6-1 victory and arrange a quarter-final conflict with Morocco.
Ronaldo’s identify was chanted round Lusail Stadium earlier than he was launched within the closing phases, having been omitted of a beginning line-up at a significant event for the primary time since Euro 2008.
Requested about Ronaldo, who left Manchester United below a cloud in the course of the finals, Santos stated: “That’s nonetheless one thing that needs to be outlined.
“I’ve a really shut relationship with him – I at all times have, I’ve identified him since he was 19 years outdated.
“This relationship solely develops, Ronaldo and I by no means interpret the human side of that of supervisor and participant (in relation to) what we’ve to do in the course of the match. I’ll at all times take into account in my position that he’s an essential participant to have within the group.”
When requested immediately if Ronaldo would play towards Morocco, Santos replied bullishly: “Ronaldo will certainly (be concerned), all of the gamers on the bench can be utilized, if they don’t seem to be within the beginning line-up they will play later.
“It is very important have a look at the instance of this participant’s historical past, he is among the greatest gamers on this planet at taking part in professionally, being captain – all we’ve to do is consider this group collectively.”
Ramos had performed simply 33 minutes of senior worldwide soccer earlier than his beautiful show in Qatar however Santos stated the ahead had “stood out” earlier than he threw the 21-year-old into the limelight.
Ramos thrashed in a spectacular left-footed strike 17 minutes into his full debut, which Pepe added to with a strong header because the 39-year-old grew to become the oldest goalscorer in World Cup knockout historical past.
Portugal continued within the ascendancy after half-time as Ramos turned residence from shut vary earlier than taking part in in Raphael Guerreiro to open up a four-goal benefit.
The Benfica striker was disillusioned to flick on a Swiss nook for Manuel Akanji to drag one again however grew to become the primary participant in Qatar to attain a hat-trick by coolly clipping over Yann Sommer.
The group chanted Ronaldo’s identify and received their want as he got here on, with the star seeing a aim disallowed for offside earlier than fellow substitute Rafael Leao curled residence a magnificence.
Switzerland coach Murat Yakin conceded Portugal had been the higher facet however stated whether or not Ronaldo began or not had no affect on the outcome.
“We have now to confess that our opponent at the moment was higher, quicker and extra offensive,” he stated.
“Sadly, our sport plan didn’t work out and we’ve to just accept that and I congratulate our opponents on this win. Defeat is painful, we’re unhappy about how we performed.
“We had a transparent sport plan, we had practised it, we additionally had check video games and the group was conversant in the system and formation.
“Whether or not Ronaldo is taking part in or not, all of our gamers are in a position to play soccer however the opponent received into the sport higher and we didn’t handle to get a superb begin, we noticed that many issues didn’t work out for us.”