Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo did not make the starting lineup in a FIFA World Cup Round of 16 match against Switzerland at the Lusail Stadium. Goncalo Ramos took his place in the playing XI and scored a hattrick in his first ever international start.
It was the first time since the European Championships in 2008, that Ronaldo didn’t make the starting XI in a major tournament.
There were already doubts whether Ronaldo will line up in the knockout fixture after a reported disagreement with the coach Fernando Santos.
In the 1-2 defeat to South Korea last week, Ronaldo was supposedly unhappy with Santos’ decision to take him off the pitch in the second half. The Portuguese media have shown images that suggest he used vulgar language in response to Santos’ decision.
Santos added fuel to the fire, saying he was unimpressed with Ronaldo’s behaviour. “I didn’t like it at all. I didn’t like it at all. Then these matters are resolved in-house.”
Ronaldo did come off the bench in the 73rd minute and found the back of the net but the goal was ruled offside.
Portugal plays its next match - the quarterfinal - on December 10 (8:30PM IST) against Morocco at the Al Thumama Stadium.
Although Ronaldo fans will be desperately hoping the star striker gets to start, it looks unlikely especially after the kind of performance Ramos registered on Wednesday.