Santos says Ronaldo “wasn’t happy” but kept silent about the reserve role against Morocco

Santos says Ronaldo "wasn't happy" but kept silent about the reserve role against Morocco


Football NOS

Fernando Santos did not reveal anything about his line-up against Morocco in the final press conference before the quarter-finals. So the Portugal coach was also silent about a possible starting place for Cristiano Ronaldo on Saturday afternoon.

Santos dared to let his star player start off the bench against Switzerland in the previous round. Without Ronaldo, the Portuguese rebounded on the Swiss (6-1). Ronaldo’s replacement, Gonzalo Ramos, became the famous man with three goals. Good reason to change.

“Each coach assembles his team as he sees fit and adapts the strategy to the opponent. That’s exactly what I’m going to do,” the coach was enigmatic.

The paparazzi paid more attention to Ronaldo than to the key players during the Portugal national anthem.


Paparazzi crowd to take a picture of Ronaldo

Ronaldo had to sit on the bench for Portugal in the eighth finals for the first time since 2008. The 37-year-old striker came on in just 73 minutes. His role as a substitute caused necessary speculation.

“He wasn’t very happy about it for obvious reasons,” Santos said. “I explained my situation to him, he accepted it. Any player who doesn’t play is not happy. We, the coaches, have to deal with him.”

Write history

Portugal will have to contend with a stadium full of Moroccan fans on Saturday (kick-off at 4pm). National coach Walid Regragui stopped with his team against Spain in the previous round and now wants more. “It feels positive for us. We can make history,” Regragui said.


Hakim Ziyech and Walid Rekragui

He continued, “The euphoria is over, we are no longer on a pink cloud. Now we want to beat Portugal.” “What we’ve already achieved is good, but we want more. The players don’t feel like going home yet. Everyone thought they knew who would win the World Cup, but we’re still here.”

The 47-year-old Regragui hopes to welcome more colleagues of African descent in the future. He hopes to have initiated change with Morocco’s success. “We want to show that Morocco deserves to be here. And Africa deserves to be here. Football is universal.”

“I hope you’re back on the couch.”

Morocco’s national coach hopes Portugal can start without Ronaldo. “We will play against one of the best teams in the world. I don’t know if Ronaldo will start, but I hope he will come back to the bench.”

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