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Fernando Santos details ‘frank conversation’ with Cristiano Ronaldo

Santos Ronaldo

Fernando Santos has insisted that him and Cristiano Ronaldo had a normal conversation about his captain’s absence from Portugal’s starting team.

Reports had emerged that Ronaldo had threatened to leave Portugal’s World Cup squad when he was informed that he would not be starting in the last 16 encounter against Switzerland.

The country’s football association and manager have since denied this however, and Santos has now spoken openly about how the conversation between himself and Ronaldo went.

While Santos said Ronaldo wasn’t happy to be dropped to the bench, the Portugal manager described it as a “frank and normal” conversation.

Fernando Santos on his conversation with Cristiano Ronaldo.

“I think it’s high time to leave Ronaldo alone,” Santos said.

“He has never told me that he wanted to leave our national team and I think it’s high time we stopped with this conversation, that we stop with the polemics.

“I spoke to him after lunch on the day of the game and invited him into my office. For obvious reasons, Cristiano was not very happy about it as he has always been the starting player.

“He told me: ‘Do you really think it’s a good idea?’ But we had a normal conversation in which I explained my viewpoints and of course he accepted them. We had a frank and normal conversation.”

Goncalo Ramos scored a hat-trick for Portugal.

Ronaldo’s replacement Goncalo Ramos couldn’t have made much more of his opportunity, as the youngster scored a hat-trick in a 6-1 rout of Switzerland.

Ramos’ performance will surely leave Santos at least tempted to start the Benfica striker in Portugal’s quarter-final against Morocco, as the defeat of Switzerland was comfortably his side’s best display of the World Cup.

That would likely mean that Ronaldo will be left out of the starting team again, a situation he became familiar with during his final few months at Manchester United.

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