Portugal coach, Fernando Santos has called for Cristiano Ronaldo to be left alone after denying reports that the star wanted to leave the squad after being benched for their World Cup victory over Switzerland.
Ronaldo slammed reports from his nation that he wanted to pack up his bags and leave their World Cup camp after he was benched.
Santos has now called for the attention surrounding Ronaldo to stop, and that the 37-year-old never expressed any intention of leaving the camp.
In a press conference ahead of their clash with Morocco on Saturday, Santos said: ‘He never told me he wanted to leave. It’s time to finish this and stop. He left the dressing room against Switzerland, warmed up, went out for a run to celebrate the goals with his teammates.
‘He called his teammates to thank them for their effort but he came out and left. He marched alone. Let’s leave Cristiano Ronaldo alone.’
Santos, while opening up on when he informed Ronaldo of his decision, insisted they had a ‘normal conversation’ and could understand why his player was unhappy.
The manager said: ‘He never told me that he was going to leave. He did not tell me. You have to see how his attitude is. He celebrated the goals with his teammates, thanked the fans.
‘I had a conversation with Cristiano Ronaldo. We talked about the Portuguese team but the only conversation I had was before the match against Switzerland to tell him why he was going to be a substitute.
‘I told him that he was not going to start in the Round of 16. He was not happy with the conversation, as is normal. But it was a normal conversation where everyone showed their point of view.
‘When a player is captain of Portugal and starts on the bench, it’s normal for him not to be happy. When I told him that I wasn’t going to play as a starter, he asked me if it was a good idea.
‘Of course he wasn’t happy. But I assure you that he never wanted to leave.’