Former Manchester United skipper Gary Neville has blasted Cristiano Ronaldo for his “petulance” after the Portugal star was dropped for his country’s round of 16 game vs Switzerland.
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Fernando Santos made the shock decision to drop Ronaldo in the wake of his behaviour in Portugal’s defeat to South Korea in their last group match.
As the 37-year-old forward walked off the pitch, he was visibly frustrated at being substituted, appearing to swear at one of the opposition players on his way to the touchline.
Santos was not pleased with what he saw, as he made his feelings clear when he was asked about the incident after the game.
He said: “Have I seen the images? Yes, I didn’t like it, not at all. I didn’t like it. I really didn’t like it. But from that moment onwards everything is finished regarding that issue. These matters are resolved behind closed doors. It’s resolved. Full stop on this matter and now everyone is focused on tomorrow’s match.”
The resolution has seen the former United star named on the bench for the key clash against the Swiss. Neville, who was criticised by Ronaldo during his interview with Piers Morgan, unleashed an attack on the former United man before kick-off.
He told ITV: “Well what happened at United, the suggestion was, it was because [Erik] Ten Hag was trying to make a move on him, he’s trying to establish his authority. This is a manager [Santos] who’s got an unbelievable relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo for eight years.
“And there are a lot of fans of Cristiano Ronaldo who aren’t willing to tell him the truth. I think he does need to listen to the truth, that it’s becoming a little bit of a scruffy end.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if he came on tonight and scored the winner, but the petulance, the stomping around, the sulking it’s got to stop because it doesn’t reflect well on him at all.
“His long term legacy is set, he’s protected. He’s one of the great all time players but in the short term, he’s got to do a lot better, because is the Juventus manager wrong? The Manchester United manager wrong? And now is the Portugal manager wrong? There’s three of them that now have done the same thing with him.”