Fernando Santos: Cristiano never told me he wanted to leave the national team

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Fernando Santostechnical director of Portugaladmitted this Friday a conversation last Tuesday with Cristiano Ronaldo, “before lunch”, on the same day of the game that left him as a substitute against Switzerland, to explain to him why he was not going to be a starter in that match, but he assured that it was a “normal and calm” talk, in which the captain “he never told him that he wanted to leave” of the selection and Qatar World Cup 2022.

“The conversation happened. Since I arrived here, before the games I’m only an hour and a half with the team. I’m writing on the blackboard. But it was normal for it to happen. I don’t do it with everyone, but he’s the captain. Being who he is, everything that he represents for the team, he had to have the talk. It was the day of the game before lunch. It was only to explain to him why I was not going to play. It was in my office and I told him that I was not going to start. I thought that his entry in the second half could solve the game,” the coach said at a press conference at the Qatar National Convention Center.

Saints admitted that Cristiano Ronaldo was “not” happy with his substitution, because “he always plays as a starter”. “It’s natural. It was a normal, calm conversation. He never told me that he wanted to leave the national team,” he remarked.

“Every time we speak to the press, 90 percent of the questions are about Cristiano“, reviewed the Portuguese strategist, who highlighted the “fantastic atmosphere” in the locker room among the 24 players that make up Portugal’s current squad in the tournament.