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Ronaldo ‘never made World Cup threat’

Cristiano Ronaldo did not threaten to walk out on Portugal’s World Cup campaign, the country’s football governing body insists.

December 9, 2022
9 December 2022

Portugal’s football federation has slapped down reports Cristiano Ronaldo threatened to walk out on the country’s World Cup campaign.

The 37-year-old was left on the bench for Portugal’s 6-1 last-16 win over Switzerland by boss Fernando Santos, having reacted poorly to being substituted in the final group game against South Korea.

He came on as a second-half substitute, but it was the first time since Euro 2008 the former Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus forward was left out of a starting line-up at a major tournament. 

He reportedly held summit talks with Santos on Wednesday.

Reports circulated on Thursday that during those discussions Ronaldo – who also acted petulantly during his final few weeks as a United player before the club terminated his contract – warned he would turn his back on his country and leave Qatar ahead of Saturday’s quarter-final with Morocco.

But the Portuguese football’s governing body, the FPF, moved quickly to shut down speculation and insisted Ronaldo has an “unquestionable degree of commitment to the national team”.

“News released this Thursday reports that Cristiano Ronaldo threatened to leave the national team during a conversation with Fernando Santos, national coach,” the federation said in a statement. 

“The FPF clarifies that at no time did the captain of the national team, Cristiano Ronaldo, threaten to leave the national team during the internship in Qatar.

“Cristiano Ronaldo builds up a unique track record every day at the service of the national team and the country, which must be respected and which attests to the unquestionable degree of commitment to the national team.

“The national team – players, coaches and FPF structure – is, as it has been since the first day, fully committed and enthusiastic in building what the country wants to be Portugal’s best-ever participation in a World Cup.”

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