Liverpool fans all left asking same Diogo Jota question as Portugal exits Euro 2024

Diogo Jota of Portugal on the bench during the UEFA EURO 2024 round of 16 match between Portugal and Slovenia at Frankfurt Arena on July 1, 2024 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany
-Credit: (Image: Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

Diogo Jota's absence in Portugal's crucial Euro 2024 match against France has many Liverpool fans curious as to why the star was left on the sidelines.

In Portugal's quarterfinal penalty shootout loss to France, the side was looking for a spark to shoot them into the semifinals. However, that spark never came as Jota remained glued to the bench as the team continued to rely on 39-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo to make magic happen.

Many fans were livid to see so much of Portugal's attention directed Ronaldo's way, making their frustrations known. "The way Cristiano Ronaldo made this Euros about himself, at 39 years old without scoring a single goal, is a stunning failure of the Portugal national setup," one fan wrote on X. "How they let him control his playing time at the level of productivity to cater to his massive ego is why they're out."

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Legendary broadcaster Jeff Stelling added to the chorus criticising the star, adding: "Bruno Fernandes off while Ronaldo who has jogged around without impact stays on tells you everything about who calls the shots for Portugal."

With Ronaldo's perceived ineffectiveness against France, many on social media believed Jota could have been a better matchup for Roberto Martinez's side. "Portugal's biggest mistake not starting Diogo Jota," wrote one fan on X, while another added during the 120 minutes: "Jota is the only player who can fix this game, get him on."

Premier League-winning striker Chris Sutton, meanwhile, wrote on X: "Weak management leaving Ronaldo on for 120 minutes and Jota didn’t get a look in."

Jota didn't get much of a chance at Euro 2024
Jota didn't get much of a chance at Euro 2024 -Credit:Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP) (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images

By all accounts, Jota appeared to be the better choice for Martinez if the Portuguese wanted to make an impact in the tournament. Instead, the 27-year-old was left on the bench in crucial moments, which begs the question as to why he didn't see consistent action.

Of the five games Portugal played, Jota played in three of them, coming on as a substitute in all his appearances. Jota did not play in Portuga's 3-0 win over Turkey in its second group stage game and was a no-show against France, sitting on the bench as the 2018 World Cup winner eliminated his country.

Martinez's insistence on playing Ronaldo heavy minutes eventually reared its ugly head as the side was devoid of any significant attacking. When Jota was brought into the game against Slovenia, it was his run into the heart of the defense that gave Ronaldo a chance to put Portugal ahead in extra time.

Instead, the Al-Nassr star failed to convert the penalty and was spotted crying as he was comforted by his teammates. Had Portugal been more lenient with what Jota could do, rather than holding him back in favor of an aging star, Portugal's tournament could have lasted longer.

While playing for Liverpool this season, Jota outperformed his expected goals tally by almost 0.4 goals per 90 minutes, showcasing just how effective he is in providing chances for his team. Time and again during the Euros, Jota has shown to be a more complete player than Ronaldo and yet Martinez had no trust in his young talent.

Now, Ronaldo, Jota and the rest of the team will be watching the rest of the tournament from their homes, rather than competing in the final stages.