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Why was Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench at the start of the match against Morocco?

Portugal’s quarterfinal clash against Morocco at the World Cup 2022 has Cristiano Ronaldo listed as a substitute for the second consecutive match.

Portugal's coach Fernando Santos watches his team play as Portugal's forward #07 Cristiano Ronaldo sits on the bench during the Qatar 2022 World Cup quarter-final football match between Morocco and Portugal at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on December 10, 2022. (Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

Fans in Qatar are divided on how they feel about Ronaldo losing his starting place for two straight games.

Goncalo Ramos scored a triple trick as Portugal thrashed Switzerland at the Lusail Stadium. The attacker started the game after Fernando Santos made the bold move of benching Ronaldo. The 37-year-old is definitely not missed by his squad, as Pepe, Raphael Guerreiro, and Rafael Leao all scored as Portugal set the tone before their quarterfinal match against Morocco.

Santos spoke and defended Cristiano

The 68-year-old coach said after the game, “There is no problem with our captain,” putting to rest any rumors of tension between him and Ronaldo. Years have passed, and our friendship has only become stronger. We discussed it before the game, and he said he had no problem with my choice. This man is exemplary.”

Santos also told the media to get off Ronaldo’s back after fake news of him asking to leave the Portugal concentration surfaced. “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 and stopped 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.”

The game can be followed live by our AS Coverage live here.


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