Cristiano Ronaldo ‘threatened to quit World Cup in tense talks’ after Portugal axe

Cristiano Ronaldo was ready to walk out on his country’s World Cup squad after learning he would not be in their starting XI against Switzerland, according to reports in Portugal.

Ronaldo has overshadowed Fernando Santos’ preparations for most of the tournament after the fallout of his exit from Manchester United – but his poor displays for his country, coupled with his own attitude issues in their camp, have led to tensions with his boss.

And Portuguese outfit Record claim that the legendary forward wanted to pack his bags and leave the World Cup after talks with Santos, having found out he would not feature in the line-up for the last-16 game this week.

Though, the Portuguese FA deny the claims, saying Ronaldo ‘builds up a unique track record every day at the service of the national team and the country, which must be respected and which attests to the unquestionable degree of commitment to the national team.’

They claim his ‘dedication was demonstrated’ against Switzerland – despite his post-match sulking after the last-16 win.

Ronaldo came on for Portugal in their 6-1 thrashing of the Swiss but then cut an isolated figure after the game as he walked off the pitch alone while the rest of his team-mates were celebrating their progress to the quarter-finals.

After being told he would not start against Switzerland, Ronaldo had a sit-down with Santos and made it clear he was unhappy with his decision – threatening to pack his bags and leave Qatar during a ‘tense’ conversation, the report claims.

But, he is believed to have ‘come to his senses’, and realised ‘the importance and urgency’ of keeping things stable in Portugal’s camp and ‘quickly changed his mind’.

It adds that the rest of the Portugal team acknowledge Ronaldo is in the public eye and that every step he takes is scrutinised, but claims there is a ‘clear intention’ from the players ‘not to let his actions have any negative impact’ to ensure the team have the best chance of winning the World Cup.

Ronaldo – who has had a tough time in Qatar and netted just one goal – sought to ease tensions this week as he posted on social media to ‘congratulate’ Santos’ selections despite not picking him.

But, this week it was reported by Spanish media that Ronaldo had not trained with the substitutes from Portugal’s victory and instead joined the players who had started in the gym.

Marca claimed that Ronaldo went for a low-intensity gym session with the starters, despite playing less than 20 minutes against Switzerland.

The game saw his replacement Goncalo Ramos net a hat-trick – justifying Santos’ decision to drop him

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