Portugal stars adamant dropping Cristiano Ronaldo will not disrupt atmosphere of World Cup 2022 title bid

Portugal stars adamant dropping Cristiano Ronaldo will not disrupt atmosphere of World Cup 2022 title bid

Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes have allayed fears that Cristiano Ronaldo being dropped from the Portugal team will impact the squad’s harmony.

Ronaldo was benched for Portugal’s 6-1 World Cup last-16 win over Switzerland on Tuesday and it was the first time he has not started a game at a major tournament in 14 years.

It has now been mooted that Ronaldo losing his place to Goncalo Ramos, who scored a hat-trick to fire Portugal to a quarter-final against Morocco, could cause issues.

Ronaldo reacted badly at Manchester United after being sidelined by Erik ten Hag and he had his contract there mutually terminated last month.

But asked if there could be problems at Portugal, Silva said: “I don’t think so. I think he is helping us. Today he showed a great personality inside the dressing room, and he was fine.

“Of course, sometimes he might not be happy because everyone wants to play. But he helped us a lot in his role and his attitude was great.”

Ramos is expected to keep his place in the Portugal team after their resounding win, meaning Ronaldo will have to sit on the bench again.

Fernandes hailed Ramos’ performance, which was his full debut, but says it is too easy to put the victory against Switerzland down to simply dropping Ronaldo.

“We won the first two games [at the World Cup] with Cristiano in the first XI,” said Fernandes. “If Cristiano had played, he could have scored three goals and no one was speaking about Cristiano being on the bench.

“Cristiano is doing his job, doing his part, he’s happy with the result, because the goal for everyone is to go as far as possible.

“So I don’t think people should be talking about this situation with Cristiano and why he’s not playing or why’s he playing, because when Cristiano plays, and the team wins, no-one talks about that. When Cristiano plays and the team lose, everyone talks.”

Ronaldo was axed by Portugal head coach Fernando Santos as he was unhappy with his conduct after being substituted against South Korea last week.

“He was like everyone else. Do you think anyone likes to be on the bench?” said Fernandes.“I think Jose Sa, he didn’t play one game, one minute. He knows that he is the third goalkeeper.

FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar | Best Images and Moments

Morocco players lift up goalkeeper Bono after beating Spain on penalties to reach the quarter-finals for the first time (REUTERS)
Morocco players lift up goalkeeper Bono after beating Spain on penalties to reach the quarter-finals for the first time (REUTERS)
Goncalo Ramos celebrates a hat-trick for Portugal in the last-16 (REUTERS)
Goncalo Ramos celebrates a hat-trick for Portugal in the last-16 (REUTERS)
Brazil players make tribute to Pele after reports of his ill health (AFP via Getty Images)
Brazil players make tribute to Pele after reports of his ill health (AFP via Getty Images)
Croatia defeat Japan in the first penalty shootout of the 2022 World Cup (Getty Images)
Croatia defeat Japan in the first penalty shootout of the 2022 World Cup (Getty Images)
Jude Bellingham relaxes after his star dislay against Senegal (The FA via Getty Images)
Jude Bellingham relaxes after his star dislay against Senegal (The FA via Getty Images)
Aziz Behich comes within inches of completing an unlikely Australia comeback against Argentina in the last-16 (Getty Images)
Aziz Behich comes within inches of completing an unlikely Australia comeback against Argentina in the last-16 (Getty Images)
Vincent Aboubakar celebrates a famous winner for Cameroon against Brazil (AFP via Getty Images)
Vincent Aboubakar celebrates a famous winner for Cameroon against Brazil (AFP via Getty Images)
Luis Suarez stunned as his last World Cup ends in an early exit (Getty Images)
Luis Suarez stunned as his last World Cup ends in an early exit (Getty Images)
South Korea celebrate knocking out Uruguay with a last-minuter winner in the group stage (Getty Images)
South Korea celebrate knocking out Uruguay with a last-minuter winner in the group stage (Getty Images)
Japan’s Kaoru Mitoma appears to have the ball over the line before crossing it for a goal during the World Cup group E soccer match between Japan and Spain, at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar (AP)
Japan’s Kaoru Mitoma appears to have the ball over the line before crossing it for a goal during the World Cup group E soccer match between Japan and Spain, at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar (AP)
Germany players stand dejected at the end of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E campaign and match v Costa Rica (AFP via Getty Images)
Germany players stand dejected at the end of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E campaign and match v Costa Rica (AFP via Getty Images)

“Probably he is not happy to be on the bench. So, you think Cristiano will be happy? If the manager in the next game put me on the bench, I will be angry with him.”

Ronaldo still received a good reception from the crowd here in Doha last night and the Lusail Stadium chanted his name. When he finally came on with 15 minutes to go, the 37-year-old received a huge cheer too.

“Cristiano is the most famous player in the world of every time,” said Fernandes. “No one is more famous than Cristiano in sport, not in football, in sport. It’s normal that people come to see Cristiano, I don’t see any surprise in that.

“I don’t think why people are surprised about that. Cristiano is Cristiano, his name talks by itself. It’s normal that people are shouting for him, even if he’s on the bench or if he’s playing.”