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Fernando Santos clarifies what was said in ‘frank’ conversation with Cristiano Ronaldo after Portugal axe

Portugal boss Fernando Santos has rubbished suggestions of a falling out with Cristiano Ronaldo after dropping his skipper against Switzerland and insists the five-time Ballon d’Or winner never threatened to leave the World Cup.Information Guide Nigeria

The Portuguese FA was obliged to reject claims that Ronaldo had been involved in a heated altercation with his manager just hours before Portugal’s 6-1 triumph over Switzerland in the round of 16. Ronaldo, who was withdrawn from the starting lineup for the match, was 37 years old.

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Santos has now detailed what transpired between the two on Tuesday, admitting that Ronaldo was displeased to learn he would not start but accepted the decision in a calm manner.

Asked for his version of events, Santos replied: ‘Yes we did have a conversation and it would be very bad if we had not had this conversation. Since I took the helm of the national team we talk and have a close relationship with the players, it’s normal and I’ve always done that throughout my career.NYSC portal

‘There are coaches who have a different approach, but that’s my approach, to talk to our players and to have a close relationship with them.

‘The conversation [with Ronaldo] needed to happen. It’s part of our basis. I don’t do it with all the players [when they are dropped] but he is the captain of our squad and you know what he represents for Portuguese football and for the Portuguese people.

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‘Naturally, I needed to talk to him. When we had this conversation it was on the day of the match, after lunch. I had not had any conversations with him before that, neither on Sunday or Monday. The only conversation I had with him was on that day, the day of the game, and I explained why he would not play.

‘After lunch we met, I explained to him why he was not going to be one of the starters, because I did not want him to be surprised. I invited him into my office and said, “Listen, you are not going to start, I think you’ll be very important but in terms of strategy it’s better for you not to be on the field.”JAMB portal

‘We expected that the game would be more difficult and I wanted to save him for the second half if need be. I spoke to him naturally, as I always do with my players.

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‘Cristiano for obvious reasons was not very happy about it, because he has always been the starting player – except for one or two games. Obviously, he was not happy and he told me, “Do you really think it’s a good idea?”

But we had a normal conversation in which I explained my point of view and he accepted that. We had a frank and normal conversation.

‘He has never told me that he wanted to leave our national team and as Joao [Felix] said, I think it’s high time we stopped with this conversation and stopped with the attacks.

‘Ronaldo was the one who started warming up with the players even though he knew he was not going to start, he celebrated all the goals that were scored and at the end, he was the one who invited the players to thank the fans. So I think it’s high time for you to leave Ronaldo alone and acknowledge all he has done for Portuguese football.

Speaking alongside his manager, Felix had said of the Ronaldo stories: ‘I will not answer that question. I would just like to leave a message to all the Portuguese people, especially the press: Portugal is having a great competition, we have not reached the quarter-finals for a long time, and I think we should all be closer together and not trying to destabilise the environment in the national team.’JAMB Result

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Emediong Silver

Emediong Ekpe is a graduate of English. A professional Sports journalist/analyst, and a spoken word artist. He is passionate about decimating information and putting smiles on people's faces via news writing.

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