The champion's ego must have taken a cost.
A small goal from the penalty spot and zero shots on target in the game. This is the poor record that Cristiano Ronaldo (37) has had since the start of the World Cup.
The Portuguese's 2022 is most certainly the worst year of his career.
Dismissed from the group at Manchester United, with whom he broke his contract, the World Cup represented the perfect opportunity to revive for the fivefold Ballon d'Or.
For the moment, there is nothing.
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Three times replaced during the game (which seemed to displease him greatly), coach Fernando Santos saves his star, but also plays players who bring more.
Ronaldo is no longer the player he was four years ago in Russia.
Today, in a pure center-forward role, his influence is limited (only 25 balls touched against South Korea).
And if, in the game, it is difficult, it is not better in front of goal.
No shot on target, very often in an offside position and many wasted chances make one even wonder where the real Cristiano Ronaldo went.
Portugal awaits the awakening of its captain
While he skates, the Portuguese selection drives at full speed.
A fluid game, well built and organized around a great Bruno Fernandes (2 goals and 2 assists in 2 matches), made Portugal one of the favorites for the final victory.
It was the Manchester United midfielder who became the real Portuguese leader on the pitch, further reducing the influence of his captain.
On the bench, Rafaël Leao, sparkling with AC Milan, is chomping at the bit and brings real added value each time he comes into play. Enough to put Cristiano Ronaldo on the sidelines?
In the country, according to a survey by A Bola, the supporters are of this opinion (70% wish to see him replaced).
The image of a player with a lack of confidence who displays his frustration through gestures during matches is not to everyone's liking, particularly his coach, who appeared to be upset by his behavior at a press conference: "
I don't didn't like it at all
Fernando Santos, however, refused to confirm the tenure of his captain for the round of 16 this Tuesday evening against Switzerland.
If he does play, Cristiano Ronaldo would do well to regain his ability to silence critics on the pitch.
His ego must certainly push him to respond to the performances of Mbappé (5 goals) and Messi (3 goals) to take his team towards its final goal: to win its first World Cup.