Cristiano Ronaldo's girlfriend has defended her partner after the football icon was dropped for Portugal's 6-1 victory over Switzerland in the round of 16 at the Qatar World Cup. Portugal coach Fernando Santos made one of the biggest decisions of his career when he sensationally dropped Ronaldo for the knockout clash against Switzerland.
'CAN'T BELIEVE IT': Spain savaged over 'horrible' drama at World Cup
Santos had earlier criticised Ronaldo's reaction to being subbed off in their previous game against South Korea. Ronaldo's replacement, Goncalo Ramos, justified his coach's faith in him and went on to score a scintillating hat-trick to help Portugal advance to the quarter-final in a stunning display.
While plenty of drama was occurring on the pitch, cameras were also directed towards Ronaldo in the dugout. The 37-year-old eventually got into the field in the second-half, but was unable to contribute to the scoreline. After the match, Ronaldo was also criticised for walking off the field first after briefly thanking the fans.
“I don’t know what Ronaldo is doing here," Aussie great Craig Foster said on SBS coverage. "He’s heading off the field first. The Ronaldo story goes on. Of course he’s going to be disappointed he’s not on. That’s his personality. That’s how you win five Ballon d’ors.”
Since the drama, Georgina Rodriguez - Ronaldo's partner - has weighed-in on the drama. Rodriguez took to social media and indirectly took aim at the coach for not starting Ronaldo for the knockout clash.
“Congratulations Portugal," Rodriguez wrote. “While the 11 players sang the hymn all the goals placed on you. What a shame not to have been able to enjoy the best player in the world during the 90 minutes. The fans have not stopped claiming you and shouting your name.”
Portugal's 6-1 victory over Switzerland as the first competitive match Ronaldo has started on the bench for his nation since 2008.
Craig Foster defends Cristiano Ronaldo
While plenty was made of Ronaldo's benching, SBS analyst Foster defended Ronaldo's pursuit for greatness.
“He has to be delighted that they’re winning,” Foster said. “He gets more game time. He wants to equal Eusébio. He needs to stay in the competition and he wants to win this competition. Messi is still involved in the competition.
“For him, I wouldn’t say it’s perfect this morning but it’s still ideal. He’s still alive. He’s got an opportunity to break more records.”
Santos later revealed his reasons for relegating Ronaldo to the bench, saying: “Cristiano and Ramos are different players. There is no problem with our captain. We’ve been friends for years. We spoke before the game and he had no issue with my decision.”
Santos said Ronaldo's role is yet to be decided heading into the quarter-finals. “That is still something that has to be defined," he admitted. “I have a very close relationship with him – I always have, I have known him since he was 19 years old.
“This relationship only develops, Ronaldo and I never interpret the human aspect of that of manager and player (in relation to) what we have to do during the match. I will always consider in my role that he is an important player to have in the team.”
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