Ronaldo refutes media lies over Portugal row with ‘outside forces’ trying to cause ‘adversary’

Cristiano Ronaldo walks off the pitch Credit: Alamy
Cristiano Ronaldo walks off the pitch Credit: Alamy

Cristiano Ronaldo has slammed “outside forces” for trying to cause “adversary” within the Portugal squad after it was reported that he threatened to leave the national team setup.

Portuguese outlet Record claimed that Ronaldo had a row with Fernando Santos after being substituted in his side’s 2-1 loss to South Korea.

Santos did drop Ronaldo for Portugal’s 6-1 last-16 win over Switzerland, with his replacement, 21-year-old Goncalo Ramos, netting a hat-trick.

The Portugal manager also noted that he was not pleased with his captain after he reacted poorly to being taken off in the Group H finale against Heung-min Son and co.

Rumours of a clash between player and boss were completely false, however, Portugal said in a statement on Thursday.

“News released on Thursday claims Cristiano Ronaldo threatened to leave the national team during a conversation with national coach Fernando Santos,” the statement read.

“The FPF wants to clarify that at no time did national team captain Cristiano Ronaldo threaten to leave the national team during the tournament in Qatar.

“Cristiano Ronaldo continues to build on his unique record of service to the national team, which should be respected and which attests to his unquestionable degree of commitment to the national team.

“The national team – players, coaches and the FPF structure – are fully committed and enthusiastic, as has been the case since day one, to building what we hope will be Portugal’s best ever World Cup.”

Ronaldo has now disputed those claims as well, posting on social media that the Portugal team are “too close to be broken by outside forces”.

In a response to the Record report which claimed Ronaldo threatened to fly home, the 37-year-old wrote: “A group too close to be broken by outside forces. A nation too brave to let itself be frightened by any adversary. A team in the truest sense of the word, which will fight for the dream until the end!

“Believe in us! Strength, Portugal!”

It is unclear what sort of role Ronaldo will have in the World Cup going forward.

Santos admitted that it has to be “defined” with Ramos extremely likely to lead the line in Portugal’s quarter-final against Morocco.

A win against the African nation will set up a semi-final clash against England or France.

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