Home sport Could Cristiano Ronaldo be Portugal’s great replacement for the rest of the World Cup?

Could Cristiano Ronaldo be Portugal’s great replacement for the rest of the World Cup?

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CNN

Cristiano Ronaldo has found himself in uncharted territory this season – but no matter where he is on the pitch, cameras are following him.

After announcing that he would start the World Cup round of 16 for Portugal against Switzerland from the bench, dozens of photographers gathered around the team’s substitutes before kick-off.

It was the almost comical number of cameras trained on Ronaldo that made most of his fellow Portuguese reserves laugh.

Nowhere on the bench, the Portuguese star has spent plenty of time since the start of his career in 2002, with his scoring abilities crucial for teams to either get him off the field or leave him out of the starting line-up.

However, this season was different.

Now 37, Ronaldo’s legs don’t seem to have the same symbol they once did, and while he remains one of the biggest goal-scoring threats in football, his increasing lack of mobility means he’s no longer suited to a high-pressing style of football. foot. Teams love to play the modern game.

This led to his prompt dismissal by new Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag, who favored a strong, energetic style, which Ronaldo said he was unhappy with.

When Ten Hag asked Ronaldo to sit on the bench earlier this season against Tottenham, the former Real Madrid player fired a jab and walked down the tunnel, refusing to come into the game.

This resulted in Ronaldo being expelled from the matchday squad for United’s next match. The Portuguese star then opened up about his behavior in an Instagram post, though he made no apologies.

He wrote, “As I have always done throughout my career, I try to live and play with respect for my teammates, opponents and coaches.”

Then came the lengthy interview with Piers Morgan, in which Ronaldo called out nearly everyone at Manchester United – including the bosses – which eventually led to the end of his second spell at the club as the two decided to go their separate ways.

Rumors have circulated since leaving Manchester United that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner was about to sign for a club in Saudi Arabia, which he denied.

Then, on Tuesday, Ronaldo was left out of Portugal’s starting line-up at a major tournament for the first time since Euro 2008.

It remains unclear why Ronaldo was dropped to the bench, but his recent performances have fallen far short of the high standards he has set for himself throughout his career.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos said in his pre-match press conference that he was unhappy with his captain’s reaction after being substituted in the previous match against South Korea.

Given Ronaldo’s reaction to being put on the bench for United and then being sent off against Correa, it’s fair to assume that people might have expected a similar reaction on Tuesday.

However, in Ronaldo’s defence, this was not the case.

He was encouraged by his co-equipiers over the majeure partie of the match and he joined in the celebrations of his own buts, but he comprising Goncalo Ramos, who is a replica of Ronaldo in the formation of his division and a marque of his first trip to the Coupe From the world.

But by appearing for nearly 20 minutes in Portugal’s 6-1 loss to Switzerland, Ronaldo demonstrated his abilities in front of goal.

With his only real chance of the match, Ronaldo headed past Jan Sommer but the goalkeeper’s offside flag prevented him from scoring.

His star quality remained, too, as Lusail Stadium filled with chants of “Ronaldo, Ronaldo” as he took to the pitch to deliver the biggest roar of the night – including all seven goals in the match.

In his absence, Portugal produced their best performance to date in Qatar, and Switzerland’s fine volleys helped make Santos a formidable contender for World Cup victory.

It’s not clear if Ronaldo will return to the starting line-up for Portugal’s quarter-final against Morocco, but even if he doesn’t, Santos could call up one of the game’s top scorers. Sporting history isn’t a bad choice.

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