Portugal manager Fernando Santos has slammed Cristiano Ronaldo for his antics against South Korea and hasn't guaranteed that the forward will start against Switzerland on 6 December.
Ronaldo was substituted in the 65th minute of his team's 2-1 loss against the South Koreans on 2 December. While exiting the pitch, he was seen putting a finger on his lips to make a 'shushing' gesture, which hasn't gone down well with Santos.
The Portuguese tactician spoke to reporters ahead of the clash (h/t the Guardian) and said:
"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."
Asked if Ronaldo would captain Portugal for the fourth game in a row at this World Cup, Santos replied:
"I only decide who is going to be captain when I reach the stadium. I still don’t know what the lineup will be. That’s what I’ve always done and that’s what I’m always going to do and it’s going to be the same tomorrow. The other topic is solved. We have fixed that in-house and that’s it.”
Ronaldo clarified after the match that the gesture was directed towards South Korean striker Cho Gue-sung for asking him to speed up his exit. He said via the aforementioned source:
"Before my substitution, one of their players was telling me to leave quickly. I told him to shut up, he has no authority, he doesn’t have to say anything.”
The score was 1-1 at the time of Cristiano Ronaldo's exit, with the Asian nation needing a win to qualify for the knockout. Hwang Hee-chan scored in the first minute of stoppage time to hand his team an important 2-1 win.
Will Cristiano Ronaldo feature for Portugal against Switzerland?
The Portugal manager's aforementioned comments make it clear that the situation has been resolved behind closed doors.
Cristiano Ronaldo notably walked out of Old Trafford before the full-time whistle twice this season under manager Erik ten Hag. His actions weren't taken kindly by the Dutch tactician, and the saga ultimately culminated in the 37-year-old leaving the club last month by mutual consent.
The former Real Madrid forward is doing his reputation no good with antics such as the one he pulled off against South Korea. It seems unlikely that Santos will drop Ronaldo to the bench when Portugal takes on Switzerland.
Fans would like to believe he was taken off prematurely against the Taegeuk Warriors to keep him fresh for Portugal's last-16 clash.