World Cup: Ronaldo on the bench again for Portugal vs Morocco

Portugal captain was also dropped from the starting lineup for the last-16 match against Switzerland.

Cristiano ronaldo on the pitch
Ronaldo, Portugal's captain, was also dropped from the starting lineup for the last-16 match against Switzerland [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

Cristiano Ronaldo will not be in Portugal’s starting XI for its World Cup 2022 quarter-final against Morocco after being named as one of the substitutes for the second match running.

Ronaldo, Portugal’s captain, was dropped from the starting lineup for the last-16 match against Switzerland after the five-time Ballon d’Or winner reacted angrily to being substituted against South Korea in the side’s final group match.

The former Real Madrid and Manchester United forward appeared angry on December 2 after he was taken off 25 minutes from the end of Portugal’s match, which they lost 2-1.

There have been mixed reactions from fans of the team in Qatar, about Ronaldo losing his first-team spot in successive games.

For Ronaldo fan Daniel Chiu from Kuala Lumpur, football is a team game, and if the ex-Real Madrid player has to be benched today, so be it.

“Ronaldo has been one of the best players of his generation with Messi. But a team is made up of 11 players, not one,” the 44-year-old engineer told Al Jazeera. “The coach and his staff know what’s best for the whole team. And if starting Ronaldo works, then sure, otherwise, no problem.

Maria Rodrigo, 34, believes there has been too much “negativity” about Ronaldo in the media and he is still the team’s “best player”.

“He might not be having the best form, but he is still amazing and has given Portugal so much, the media just likes to create so much negativity,” Rodrigo, who is from Lisbon but lives in London, said. “It would be a shame if he doesn’t start. No one wants to win more than him.”

Following the South Korea game, Portugal manager Fernando Santos made his feelings clear about his star striker’s reaction during the pre-match news conference on Monday.

“I didn’t like it, not at all. I really did not like it,” Santos told reporters. “But from that moment onwards, everything is finished, full stop, regarding that issue,” Santos said. “Now, we have to think about tomorrow’s match, and everyone is focused on tomorrow’s match.”

Ronaldo came on for the game against Switzerland on December 6 in the 72nd minute and was unfortunate not to score in the 6-1 rout of the Swiss side.

Source: Al Jazeera