"I really didn't like it": Portugal boss reacts to Cristiano Ronaldo substitution strop

Ronaldo Santos
(Image credit: Getty)

Portugal manager Fernando Santos says he “really didn't like” Cristiano Ronaldo’s reaction to being substituted in the recent defeat to South Korea, but refused to be drawn on whether he would drop his captain.

Ronaldo was replaced 65 minutes into Portugal’s final World Cup 2022 (opens in new tab) Group H game, which they lost 2-1 thanks to a last-gasp winner from Hwang Hee-chan.

The former Manchester United striker was unhappy with the decision to take him off, although he subsequently denied swearing at Santos.

Santos was asked about video footage that appeared to show Ronaldo cricising his decision ahead of Tuesday’s last 16 clash with Switzerland.

"Let's split this answer in two," said Santos, as reported by ESPN.

"Right after the match, I spoke in the flash interview, and then went to the press conference, and there I said something I'll repeat here: on the pitch, I didn't hear anything. 

"I was too far, and this is why I only saw him arguing with a South Korean player, and nothing else.

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring a penalty for Portugal against Ghana to become the first player ever to net in five different World Cups.

Ronaldo scored in Portugal's 3-2 win over Ghana (Image credit: Getty Images)

"Have I already watched the footage? Yes. I didn't like it. Didn't like it at all. 

"From there, it's things you sort out internally. It was sorted out this way, and now we think about the game tomorrow. Everyone is focused on the game." 

Ronaldo scored a penalty in Portugal’s opening 3-2 win over Ghana before mistakenly thinking he got enough contact (opens in new tab) on a Bruno Fernandes cross to earn a second goal against Uruguay.

Following the defeat to South Korea, the striker gave his side of the story after suggestions he had sworn at Santos. 

“What happened was before my substitution, the South Korea player told me to get off quickly. I told him to shut up as he doesn't have that authority. There was no disagreement (with the coach)," Ronaldo was quoted as saying by Reuters (opens in new tab).

Ronaldo is currently without a club after terminating his Manchester United deal last month, and recent reports have claimed that he could be on his way to Saudi Arabia next. (opens in new tab)

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Alasdair Mackenzie is a freelance journalist based in Rome, and a FourFourTwo contributor since 2015. When not pulling on the FFT shirt, he can be found at Reuters, The Times and the i. An Italophile since growing up on a diet of Football Italia on Channel 4, he now counts himself among thousands of fans sharing a passion for Ross County and Lazio.