Nemanja Matic left a cheeky present for Bruno Fernandes on his return to Manchester United as he teased him over Cristiano Ronaldo’s disallowed goal.
The Portugal skipper threw his armband on the ground and left the pitch in anger before full-time of his side’s 2-2 draw against Serbia on Saturday, having felt he had been denied a clear goal.
With the scores level and Serbia a man down, Ronaldo latched onto a cross in the stoppage time and put the ball towards goal – only for Milenkovic to race back and clear it.
But replays appeared to confirm that the ball had crossed the line and both Ronaldo and the Portugal team were left fuming as there was no goal-line technology in the game.
To make matters worse, Fernandes was shown a yellow card in the match which rules him out of Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier against Luxembourg.
That has allowed the midfielder to return to Manchester and get a week off. Matic had printed out and sellotaped a picture of the incident to Fernandes’ locker, but photoshopped the goal-line and made it a foot further back.
Alongside the picture, Matic also tagged both Fernandes and Ronaldo on his Instagram account and wrote: ‘Just on the line. Is it all clear now?’
- Edinson Cavani’s major concern as he holds talks with Man Utd
- Gundogan speaks out on Havertz’s tough debut campaign at Chelsea
Ronaldo was furious after his goal was disallowed and was booked for dissent – with suggestions he could face more punishment – but Portugal manager Fernando Santos is standing by the player and says there is no danger he will lose the captaincy over his issue.
‘Yes, he will keep the armband. Forever,’ said Santos. ‘Cristiano is a national example. ‘If he had offended the manager, his teammates or the federation in a thoughtless attitude, then we would have to address the situation. But nothing like that happened.
‘It was a moment of huge frustration. And we are talking about a player who is unbeatable when it comes to his eagerness to win.
‘Nobody will say now that his reaction was beautiful, but there’s no point to discuss if Cristiano should remain the captain. That’s something I want to be very clear about.’