’10 + Ronaldo?’ Friction between Portugal’s captain and coach Fernando Santos over his sub strop dominates lead-up to their World Cup last-16 clash with Switzerland… with papers saying: ‘For the first time, his automatic spot is being questioned’
Cristiano Ronaldo has an uncanny knack of making everything about him – and the build-up to Portugal’s World Cup last-16 game against Switzerland has been no exception.
Coach Fernando Santos couldn’t hide his anger at Ronaldo’s sulky reaction to being subbed off during the final group game against South Korea.
And Santos stopped short of confirming his captain would be in the starting line-up for Tuesday night’s game, even if he insisted the matter had been resolved behind the scenes.
Portugal coach Fernando Santos (left) was left unimpressed by Cristiano Ronaldo’s reaction to being substituted during Friday’s World Cup defeat by South Korea
Ronaldo played poorly and cut a frustrated presence on the bench after being taken off
All of which led to Ronaldo dominating the front pages of the Portuguese sports dailies on the morning of the match.
Record and A Bola actually used the same picture of Santos and Ronaldo crossing paths as the 37-year-old forward was subbed off after 65 minutes of that concluding group match.
’10 + Ronaldo’ was Record’s headline, hinting perhaps at a fissure between Ronaldo and his team-mates which may yet derail their whole World Cup campaign.
They pull out some of the quotes from Santos from his press conference on Monday.
’10 + Ronaldo’ was Tuesday’s headline on the front cover of Portuguese paper Record
A Bola had a similar picture of Ronaldo and Fernando Santos and the headline ‘burning ears’
On Ronaldo’s frustrated reaction to being taken off, in which he allegedly used vulgar language towards his coach, Santos said: ‘I did see the images, yes, I didn’t like it. Not at all. I really didn’t like it.’
But Santos also said: ‘Everything is finished, full stop, regarding that issue.’
It suggests that Ronaldo will keep his place in the starting line-up to face Switzerland but some friction can’t be ruled out.
A Bola, meanwhile, go with the headline ‘burning ears’ and talks of Santos issuing a ‘reprimand’ to Ronaldo for his actions.
Santos revealed his annoyance at Ronaldo ahead of the last-16 tie against Switzerland
Ronaldo is pictured in Portugal’s training session on Monday ahead of the Switzerland game
Ronaldo leaps to head the ball in training ahead of Portugal’s knockout game with Switzerland
They add that Ronaldo will remain in the starting line-up but that, for the first time, his ‘ownership’ of a spot is being questioned.
The same newspaper published a fan survey on Monday in which 70 per cent of respondents want him to be dropped.
Newspaper O Jogo went with a very similar picture of Ronaldo and Santos from Friday but the headline ‘Winning is the best medicine.’
They say that the friction between the pair has dominated the lead-up to Portugal’s crucial first knockout game and also quote the less-than-impressed Santos on Ronaldo’s actions.
‘Winning is the best medicine’ said O’ Jogo as they also pictured Ronaldo and Santos