Ronaldo will always be Portugal captain, says coach

Cristiano Ronaldo is in no danger of losing the Portugal captaincy over his outburst during the World Cup qualifier against Serbia, says coach Fernando Santos.

Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during the World Cup qualifier between Serbia and Portugal in Belgrade.   -  AP

Cristiano Ronaldo is in no danger of losing the Portugal captaincy over his outburst at the end of Saturday's World Cup qualifier against Serbia, coach Fernando Santos said.

Ronaldo stormed off the pitch seconds before the final whistle and got booked for dissent after he was denied a stoppage-time goal in Saturday's 2-2 draw.

The 36-year-old was left fuming when his effort was cleared by Serbia defender Stefan Mitrovic after it had crossed the line. With no Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in place, Dutch referee Danny Makkelie waved play on and a livid Ronaldo threw away the captain's armband as he headed towards the tunnel.

“Yes, he will keep the armband. Forever,” said Santos. “Cristiano is a national example. If he had offended the manager, his team mates or the federation in a thoughtless attitude, then we would have to address the situation. But nothing like that happened.

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“It was a moment of huge frustration. And we are talking about a player who is unbeatable when it comes to his eagerness to win. Nobody will say now that his reaction was beautiful, but there's no point to discuss if Cristiano should remain the captain. That's something I want to be very clear about.”

Referee Makkelie told Portuguese newspaper A Bola on Monday that he had apologised to Santos and the rest of the team for the mistake. UEFA said Ronaldo's goal would have stood if the football governing bodies of Serbia and Portugal had both agreed before the game to use goal-line technology.