LUSAIL, Qatar — Portugal has benched Cristiano Ronaldo for its 2022 World Cup Round of 16 game against Switzerland on Tuesday.
Manager Fernando Santos made the decision one day after saying at a news conference that he “really didn’t like” Ronaldo’s reaction to being subbed off in the 65th minute of a 2-1 group-stage loss to South Korea.
Santos had also faced pressure from the Portuguese public to drop Ronaldo for sporting reasons. The 37-year-old striker scored just once, via a controversial penalty, in the group stage. His performance had declined sharply at Manchester United, so much so that United benched him — and got significantly better without him.
Ronaldo has captained Portugal for over a decade, and has only come off the bench three times for his national team since 2004, when he was a teenager, per FBref.com. Two of those three times were against lowly Andorra; the other was earlier this year against Spain.
Portugal’s front four in his absence will be Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva, Joao Felix and Goncalo Ramos.
The game kicks off at 10 p.m. local time (2 p.m. ET, Fox/Telemundo) at the Lusail Stadium in Qatar.