Fernando Santos said he was deeply unfazed by Cristiano Ronaldo’s behavior when the striker left the field against South Korea and refused to guarantee the 37-year-old would captain Portugal in Tuesday’s round of 16 match against Switzerland. The head coach insists Ronaldo was treated after his latest outburst but considers the case closed.
Ronaldo reacted angrily after being withdrawn midway through the second half of Friday’s loss to South Korea. He put an index finger to his lips as he left the field and later said he was upset with opposition striker Cho Gue-sung for asking him to rush his exit. “Before I was substituted, one of their players told me to hurry,” Ronaldo said. “I told him to shut up, he has no authority, he doesn’t have to say anything.”
Asked about Ronaldo’s substitution at a Tuesday press conference, Santos said: ‘Did I see the pictures? Yes, I didn’t like it, not at all. I do not want it. I really didn’t like it. But from that moment everything is settled in this matter. These matters are resolved behind closed doors. It’s solved. Enough of this and now everyone’s focus is on tomorrow’s game.”
Santos did not want to confirm whether Ronaldo would become Portugal captain. “I won’t decide who will be captain until I get to the stadium,” said Santos. “I don’t know what the line-up will look like yet. I always have and always will and tomorrow will be the same. The other issue is resolved. We fixed that internally and that was it.”
Ronaldo became the first male player to score in five World Cups when he converted a penalty in Group H’s opener against Ghana. After leaving Manchester United he is seriously contemplating a lucrative offer to join Saudi Arabian side Al Nassr. Ronaldo has received a formal offer that would pay almost €200m per season for a contract until 2025.
“It’s his decision – he has to deal with it,” Santos said of Ronaldo’s future. “We are concentrating fully on the World Cup. That’s all we talked about.”