Cristiano Ronaldo’s actions towards last Portugal coach to drop him speak volumes – Football News

Cristiano Ronaldo’s actions towards last Portugal coach to drop him speak volumes

Cristiano Ronaldo’s relationship with Fernando Santos faltered after being dropped in the World Cup (Image: Getty)

Former Portugal manager Fernando Santos has laid bare the details of his strained relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo following a year of silence after the 2022 World Cup saga – which sums up the conundrum Roberto Martinez now faces. The once tight-knit duo’s bond seemingly deteriorated when Santos made the bold decision to bench Ronaldo during Portugal’s decisive last-16 World Cup match against Switzerland – a move that paid off as the team secured a resounding 6-1 victory.

Santos, who guided Portugal to their historic Euro 2016 triumph, faced the music as he benched the iconic number 7 again in the quarter-finals against Morocco, a match that ended in defeat and marked the end of his tenure after six years managing his nation.

In a candid interview with A Bola, Santos, now at the helm of Azerbaijan’s national team, confessed: “That’s another thing… we don’t talk anymore… I don’t know what it was… We haven’t talked since I came (home) from Qatar.”

He reminisced about their deep connection, saying, “The expression is a little strong, but almost like father and son, or younger brother and older brother. We had a very close, very strong relationship, both professional and personal,” reports the Mirror.

Roberto Martinez, formerly of Everton and Wigan, has taken over the reins of the Portuguese squad, steering them into the Euro 2024 quarter-finals after a nail-biting penalty shoot-out victory against Slovenia on Monday (July 1) which has booked them a clash against France in what is a rematch of the Euro 2016 final.

Portugal v Slovenia: Round of 16 - UEFA EURO 2024

Cristiano Ronaldo was consoled by Roberto Martinez after his penalty miss against Slovenia (Image: Getty)

Ronaldo, who has yet to find the back of the net in the tournament, missed a crucial extra-time penalty that could have put his team ahead. The miss brought him to tears and he was comforted by former Manchester United teammate Diogo Dalot.

However, redemption came for the Al-Nassr striker when he scored Portugal’s first penalty in the shoot-out. Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva also found the net while Diogo Costa astonishingly saved all three of Slovenia’s penalties.

If Martinez is contemplating benching Ronaldo following another lacklustre performance from the 39 year old, his past behaviour and visible signs of frustration in Germany suggest he may not take it well. With a critical quarter-final against France on the horizon, Martinez faces a significant decision.

The Spaniard has yet to reach a major international final, having managed Belgium for six years and with the abundance of talent he has at his disposal with Portugal, expectations are high, despite their lacklustre performances so far in the summer tournament.