“You're in a damn hurry to kick me out;
These are the words that Cristiano Ronaldo pronounced against his coach, Fernando Santos, when he replaced him against Korea, after the hour of the last group game, last Friday.
This was recorded by Portuguese television, one of whose envoys attended Fernando Santos' conference on Monday to ask him about the incident.
"In the field I did not see anything," explained the technician, rueful.
“But what I saw on TV I didn't like at all.
We have resolved this issue between us.
Now we have to think about the future,” he added.
Portugal, Cristiano and the noise
It was the last episode in the self-combustion experienced by Cristiano, who at 37 years old cannot bear the limitations imposed on him by biological decline.
His latest obsession is to beat Eusebio's goal record in the World Cup.
The legendary striker from Portugal, now deceased, scored nine goals in the 1966 World Cup. Cristiano has eight in five World Cups.
Every minute that passes on the pitch counts, as he himself verified against Uruguay: he had already been substituted when the referee awarded a penalty to Portugal, and since he was not on the field, Bruno Fernandes took it.
The idea of having lost the opportunity to equalize Eusebio tormented him when he saw that Fernando Santos changed him again with half an hour to go in the match against Korea, despite the fact that Portugal was already classified for the round of 16.
Cristiano inaugurated his World Cup in Qatar with this phrase.
He pronounced it on November 22, as a result of the unusual conflict that he himself unleashed and publicized when he portrayed Manchester United managers as incompetent, obsolete and dishonest.
To several of his teammates, according to sources close to the Portugal team, the statement seemed typical of a person who had no scruples to use the national team for private purposes.
On the 23rd, United terminated his contract.
On the 24th, Portugal debuted against Ghana.
Since then, Cristiano negotiates the signing of him by Al-Nassr, from Saudi Arabia, for two years in exchange for 400 million euros.
The Portuguese star's business does not stop.
The gap with his countrymen does not stop growing either.
The lack of empathy has been evident for months with his colleagues.
Now it is also projected to the fans and public opinion.
, a reference for Portuguese football, published this Sunday the result of an overwhelming survey: 70% of the fans do not want Cristiano to start this Tuesday against Switzerland (8:00 p.m., World Goal), in the round of 16.
"Tomorrow, until we arrive at the stadium, I will not announce who the captain is," said Fernando Santos, enigmatic, when asked if he would keep Cristiano in the headlines despite the poll.
“I respect people, but I don't read the newspapers,” he said.
“I have a lot of work preparing for the game.
I will conscientiously choose the team that I think should play.
It is a problem of conscience.
I can fail or not.
But in good conscience I have always done that since I took office in 2014."
Cristiano Ronaldo didn't like the change very much... #GolMundial pic.twitter.com/LGZwInTbWV
– World Goal (@Gol) December 2, 2022
It is not certain that Fernando Santos will continue to support him given the growing resistance generated by the attacker among key players in the team's operation, such as Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes.
The Manchester City and Manchester United midfielders show clear signs of disconnection with Cristiano, who over the years has shown himself to be less able to move, reluctant to receive balls into space and inclined to ask for them at the foot, a tendency that leads him to drag rival markers towards areas of the field where the interiors that should assist him operate.
80% of the federation's income
The images of Cristiano's insult to his coach deepen the uncertainty in Portugal, where the only thing that seems unquestionable is the commitment of the president of the federation, Tiago Caveiro, with his figure.
After the match against Uruguay, the governing body of Portuguese football even leaked that it had evidence to prove to FIFA —against technological evidence— that the 1-0 had been the work of Cristiano, and not of Bruno Fernandes, as pointed out by the referee.
Cristiano gave ostensible signs of disgust when he found out the referees had denied him a goal, despite his claim on the pitch that he had headed the ball after Bruno Fernandes' cross.
Only the federation believed him.
The 1-0 would have allowed him to match Eusebio.
Caveiro is a dedicated defender of Cristiano.
The Portuguese soccer federation records about six million euros of annual profits, most of it linked to sponsorship contracts and audiovisual rights.
According to sources close to the federation, Cristiano is at the origin of 80% of that income.
The pull of his image does not decrease at the rate of his sporting performance.
In the last six games played with Portugal he has only scored one goal, a penalty, against Ghana.
"At this stage we feel that the press supports the team and Cristiano," replied Rúben Dias, when asked about the controversial survey on Cristiano.
“We have to unite to be stronger.
We are not just a great team because of the players we have up front;
We are also great for those who play in the middle and in defense, and also those who are on the bench”.
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