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Portugal coach doesn't regret benching Ronaldo against Morocco

(Photo: Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera)

Fernando Santos stated that he would not reconsider his decision to bench Cristiano Ronaldo after Portugal was eliminated from the World Cup on Saturday as a result of a 1–0 loss to Morocco in their quarterfinal match (Dec 10).

Ronaldo, Portugal's all-time leading scorer with 118 goals in 195 appearances, was benched for Tuesday's 6-1 quarterfinal victory over Switzerland, in which 21-year-old Ramos scored three goals in just his fourth appearance.

Ronaldo stormed off the field after the final whistle, sobbing profusely as his teammates consoled him.

"I do not regret (leaving Ronaldo on the bench)," Santos told a Saturday news conference.

Regarding the team, it would make no difference; I cannot think with my heart.

"There was no reason to change the team that played so well against Switzerland," said the manager (against Morocco).

"The strategic choice I had to make was among the most difficult, but I cannot think with my heart; I must think with my head.

It has nothing to do with the fact that Ronaldo is no longer an outstanding player.

Youssef En-first-half Nesyri's goal propelled Morocco's Atlas Lions into the record books as the first African and Arab nation to advance to the tournament's semifinals.

Santos refused to comment on whether he will resign and stated that he will discuss his future with the president of the Portuguese FA within the next week.

According to him, his team had trouble finding gaps between the disciplined Moroccan defensive lines, and he praised their opponents' effort, stating that it was "entirely their doing."

"Sometimes in football, a little bit of luck is required," said Santos.

"We displayed effort and quality, had multiple scoring opportunities with Joao Felix and Bruno Fernandes, and Pepe had a late header that could have equalized... A lack of luck existed."

Publish : 2022-12-11 08:58:00

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