Cristiano Ronaldo will start on the bench for the second World Cup match in a row as Portugal take on Morocco in the quarter-finals.
Ronaldo remains dropped from Portugal’s starting line-up as manager Fernando Santos keeps faith with Goncalo Ramos, who scored a hat-trick as Ronaldo’s replacement in the 6-1 win over Switzerland in the last 16.
The 37-year-old forward started each of Portugal’s three matches in the group stage but was dropped for the knockout stages, reportedly due to his reaction to being substituted in the 2-1 defeat to South Korea.
The Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) dismissed speculation this week that Ronaldo had threatened to leave the country’s World Cup camp after being dropped from the starting line-up, with Santos explaining his side of the story.
“He has never told me he wanted to leave our national team,” Santos said as Portugal returned to the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time since 2006. “I think it’s high time we stopped with this conversation and these polemics, because an example of what I just said is what he did during the match.”
When asked directly if Ronaldo would play against Morocco, Santos said: “Ronaldo will definitely (be involved), all the players on the bench can be used, if they are not in the starting line-up they can play later.
“It is important to look at the example of this player’s history, he is one of the best players in the world at playing professionally, being captain – all we have to do is think about this team collectively.”
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