Wednesday, April 24News That Matters

Bernardo Silva reveals Portugal stars suspected Ronaldo would be dropped at 2022 World Cup

Bernardo Silva has revealed Cristiano Ronaldo’s benching at the 2022 World Cup came as little surprise to the Portugal squad.

In a decision that Silva says ‘was not strange’, Ronaldo was left out of a Portugal game that wasn’t a dead rubber for the first time since Euro 2004 ahead of their last-16 tie against Switzerland in Qatar.

Ronaldo has been capped 194 times before the knockout clash, scoring 118 goals, yet his poor displays in Qatar led to him being subbed in their last group stage defeat to South Korea, leading to a row with manager Fernando Santos.

Silva admits that while there was huge speculation about Ronaldo’s inclusion ahead of the last-16 match, they only found out a couple of hours before kick-off.

‘Between us we talked and asked “could it be, would it not be?”, because the players talk,’ he told Record.

‘But we only found out about the team in the locker room when we arrived at the stadium, two hours before the game.

‘There are 26 players, too many for the coach to choose for each specific game. It never shocks me that he decides to go with one or the other. Right or wrong in the opinion of each one, the coach has the right to make the decisions he makes.’

Ronaldo was replaced by Goncalo Ramos, who went on to score a hat-trick during the 6-1 win over Switzerland, with Ronaldo coming on in the second half.

His axe for the game with the Swiss led to reports Ronaldo had threatened to walk out of the Portugal camp, although this was eventually denied by the country’s FA.

Despite Ramos keeping his place for the quarter-final clash against Morocco, they slumped to a 1-0 defeat, with Ronaldo unable to turn the game around after coming on as a second-half substitute. He was then seen leaving the pitch in tears.

The 37-year-old’s tournament was already disrupted having terminated his contract with Manchester United at the start of the World Cup.

Since then the Portugal veteran has joined Al-Nassr in an incredible £175milllion-per-year deal to play in Saudi Arabia.

Ronaldo could make his debut for Al-Nassr against Al Ta’ee on Thursday, as reported by Sportsmail, after he flew to the country for a medical.

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