Ronaldo’s place in the team is under threat after he was criticised by Portugal head coach Fernando Santos for the way he reacted to being substituted against South Korea last week.
Ronaldo was accused of swearing at Santos, which he denied as he insisted his anger was directed towards Korea forward Cho Gue-sung after he told him to hurry up and get off the pitch.
Either way, Santos made clear during Monday’s press conference ahead of tonight’s World Cup last-16 tie that he was unhappy with Ronaldo’s conduct.
“I didn’t like it. Not at all. I did not like it. I really didn’t like it,” said Santos.
“And therefore from that moment onwards you have people, everything is finished, full-stop regarding that issue. The topic is solved. We fix that at home and that’s it.”
Santos’ comments represent a sea change in the mood around Ronaldo, who has previously been untouchable for Portugal.
The Portugal head coach refused to guarantee if Ronaldo would start tonight and that may actually go down well with Portuguese fans.
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In the build-up to tonight’s game, Portuguese newspaper A Bola ran a poll on their website asking fans whether Ronaldo should start against Switzerland. The results, which were published yesterday, showed 70 per cent of voters wanted Ronaldo axed.
Ronaldo is Portugal’s captain and the all-time top scorer in men’s international football, but recent weeks have shown how his star power now appears to be on the decline.
The 37-year-old had his contract at Manchester United mutually terminated last month and he is now weighing up a lucrative offer from Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr.