Fernando Santos insists benching Cristiano Ronaldo had ‘no impact’ on Portugal’s World Cup exit after Morocco defeat
Posted by  badge Boss on Dec 11, 2022 - 09:50AM
Cristiano Ronaldo started Portugal’s World Cup quarter final against Morocco on the bench (AFP via Getty )

Fernando Santos insists the decision to start on the bench against Morocco had ‘no impact’ on his side’s exit.

Portugal were favourites to progress to the World Cup semi final but Morocco, who knocked out Spain in the last 16, pulled off another upset in as Youssef En-Nesyri capitalised on Diogo Costa’s mistake in the first half to seal a 1-0 win for the African nation.

Ronaldo, meanwhile, started on Portugal’s bench for the second game in a row after he was dropped for Portugal’s 6-1 victory over Switzerland in the last 16.

The 37-year-old was brought on in the 51st minute as Portugal pushed for an equaliser .

When asked about the decision to bench Ronaldo for the quarter final, Santos said after the defeat: ‘It had no impact on the team’s production.

‘The team was always united. I get the point, but if this were put in human terms, the two people who got the most pain from this were me and him.

Cristiano Ronaldo left the pitch in tears after Portugal’s World Cup exit (AFP via Getty)

‘But a coach cannot think with his heart, he has to think in terms of the team and the players as well. Emotionally, it is something that marks us but it had no influence.

‘I don’t regret it. The team did very well in the game against Switzerland, everything seemed to be going very well. Cristiano is a huge player, he came in when we understood that it was necessary.’

Santos, who guided Portugal to victory at Euro 2016, also said he is ‘devastated’ following his side’s World Cup exit.

‘The dressing room is destroyed, naturally desolate,’ Santos said.

‘A thank you to the Portuguese and the support that came to us from Portugal. We were convinced, due to the hard work, joy, motivation and quality, that we could reach the final and bring great joy to the Portuguese people. That’s what we wanted.

‘Me and the whole backroom team are devastated and frustrated for not having achieved this.’

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