Cristiano Ronaldo holds nothing back in plea to team-mates after Portugal boss scolding

Cristiano Ronaldo threw a strop after being substituted during Portugal’s game against South Korea and manager Fernando Santos must decide whether to continue playing him

Cristiano Ronaldo has issued a battle cry to his Portugal team-mates ahead of their clash against Switzerland on Tuesday night……..Continue Reading

Portugal take on the Swiss at Lusail Stadium for a spot in the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Qatar. Ronaldo, 37, and his team-mates are the favourites for the last-16 tie after recording impressive group-stage victories against Ghana and Uruguay.

Yet Portugal suffered a 2-1 defeat by South Korea in their final group game, with Ronaldo putting his finger to his mouth after he was substituted by manager Fernando Santos in the 65th minute. Despite the row, the forward is looking forward to Tuesday night’s game.

“Today is for Portugal!” wrote Ronaldo on Instagram. “For the Portuguese! For us and for ours! Today is for all the dreams that we carry in each one of us! Let’s do everything.”

Ronaldo, who is Portugal’s captain, is determined to win his maiden World Cup at the fifth attempt this month. Santos has criticised his skipper’s behaviour against South Korea and is yet to confirm whether he’ll retain the armband for Tuesday night’s game.

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“Have I seen the images?” Santos said. “Yes, I didn’t like it, not at all. I didn’t like it. I really didn’t like it. But from that moment onwards everything is finished regarding that issue. These matters are resolved behind closed doors. It’s resolved. Full stop on this matter and now everyone is focused on tomorrow’s match.”

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On the captaincy, Santos added: “I only decide who is going to be captain when I reach the stadium. I still don’t know what the line-up will be. That’s what I’ve always done and that’s what I’m always going to do and it’s going to be the same tomorrow. The other topic is solved. We have fixed that in-house and that’s it.”

In attempt to defend his actions, Ronaldo said: “Before my substitution, one of their [South Korea] players was telling me to leave quickly. I told him to shut up, he has no authority, he doesn’t have to say anything.”

Ronaldo is likely to be Portugal’s captain if he gets the nod against Switzerland. The free agent has struggled for goals this season, scoring just once in the Premier League before his Manchester United contract was terminated by mutual consent in November.

Ronaldo scored a penalty in the 3-2 win against Ghana and tried to claim Bruno Fernandes ‘ first goal in the 2-0 victory over Uruguay. The former Real Madrid striker struggled in the loss to South Korea and Santos must decide whether to stick with him.

Away from the national team, Ronaldo’s representatives are trying to sort out his long-term future. It’s believed Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr have offered the veteran a contract worth €200million (£172.4m) per year to make him the world’s highest-paid footballer.

No club in Europe would be able to match those wages. It’s unclear whether a European side are interested in signing Ronaldo, who is eligible to join a new club from January 1.

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