Portugal coach Fernando Santos says his determination to go away Cristiano Ronaldo out of his workforce for the 6-1 overcome Switzerland within the World Cup final 16 had been “strategic and nothing extra”.
It comes as Portugal’s hat-trick hero Goncalo Ramos stated he had not even dreamt of beginning a World Cup knockout match, not to mention scoring three, in his first begin within the match.
The 21-year-old striker was handed a shock begin forward of five-times Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo and rewarded coach Santos with an excellent match-winning show.
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Santos had expressed his unhappiness with Ronaldo’s response to being suspended within the last group stage recreation towards South Korea, however he stated that matter had no affect.
“I stated that it was closed and it was closed. Cristiano Ronaldo is among the greatest gamers on this planet taking part in professionally and as a captain … so we now have to only take into consideration this workforce collectively,” he stated.
Asked whether or not it was essentially the most tough determination of his profession to go away out Ronaldo, Santos stated: “I’ve a really shut relationship I at all times have, recognized him since he was 19 at Sporting, after which for years right here within the nationwide squad.
Fernando Santos, Head Coach of Portugal, speaks with Cristiano Ronaldo. Picture: Justin SetterfieldSource: Getty Images
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“Ronaldo and I by no means confuse the human and private facet with the coach and participant relationship. He is an important participant to have within the workforce.”
Ramos was solely two years outdated when Ronaldo made his debut for Portugal and has typically spoken of his admiration for the 37-year-old.
The man of the match on the Lusail Stadium was requested how the dressing room – and Ronaldo – had reacted to the shock workforce choice from Santos.
“Honestly nobody within the workforce talked about it. Cristiano, as captain, did what he does, he helped, he talked to us, not solely to myself however to my teammates,” Ramos stated.
“Cristiano Ronaldo has at all times been a task mannequin, he’s an idol for a lot of. I additionally like (Robert) Lewandowski and (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic.”
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Ramos was solely making his fourth look for the nationwide aspect, having performed 10 minutes throughout two video games within the group stage.
He solely made his debut on November 17 in a pre-World Cup pleasant towards Nigeria, approaching as a 67th minute substitute and promptly scoring quarter-hour later with the fourth aim in a 4-0 win.
“Not even in my wildest goals did I consider making my first begin in a World Cup knockout recreation and scoring three objectives,” Ramos stated.
Born in Algarve, the ahead has burst onto the scene with Benfica this season after being given an enhanced position because the central striker following the sale of Darwin Nunez to Liverpool.
He has scored 14 objectives in 21 video games in all competitions, rapidly adjusting to his new position.
Goncalo Ramos of Portugal celebrates after scoring the workforce’s third aim. Picture: Michael SteeleSource: Getty Images
“My favorite place is ahead, however final 12 months I used to be requested to play in assist of Darwin. It’s clear that along with his departure an area opened up for me. It’s nice to now have the position that I like essentially the most,” he stated in a latest interview.
Should he proceed his spectacular affect on this Portugal aspect within the quarter-final towards Morocco he would absolutely discover himself a goal of the identical form of massive cash method that noticed Nunez depart.
But for now, his ideas are purely on contributing to Santos’ more and more spectacular aspect and he isn’t even taking his beginning position without any consideration.
“That is one thing that doesn’t concern me. I at all times work to the fullest and hopefully that’s evident,” he stated.
Santos stated he anticipated a “very tough” recreation towards Morocco within the quarter-finals however stated his workforce have been clearly in good kind.
“If we are able to proceed like this and enhance some issues then that may be a good path,” he added.