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26th Jun 2018

Fernando Santos defends Cristiano Ronaldo for behaviour after full-time whistle

He was furious

Darragh Murphy

Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t want to talk to anyone after the full-time whistle blew on Monday night.

Ronaldo cut a frustrated figure after seeing his penalty saved, earning a yellow card for an off-the-ball exchange and watching Iran net a late equaliser from the penalty spot.

VAR dominated the Group B clash between Portugal and Iran and Ronaldo wasted no time in getting off the pitch as he stormed down the tunnel, ignoring his teammates as he made a beeline for the dressing room.

The Portugal captain did not join his international compatriots who went to applaud their fans for the support and while his behaviour has been criticised by some, his manager refuses to ridicule the Real Madrid superstar.

“I understand, it’s normal,” Fernando Santos said.

“The best players in the world face that when there isn’t an opportunity to really make it happen. That hurts a lot, more to them than to the other players.

“They always want to win, they want to be the best and they refuse to fail – and when they fail they get very upset.”

Ronaldo missed out on the chance to move level with Harry Kane at the top of the World Cup goalscoring stakes as Alireza Beiranvand saved the spot-kick which was awarded following one of several VAR reviews from referee Enrique Caceres.

Portugal will now face Uruguay in Sochi on June 30 in the round of 16 and some supporters feel Ronaldo is lucky to have escaped a red card and suspension for the exchange with Morteza Pouraliganji in the 83rd minute.

“I wasn’t concerned,” Santos insisted.

“It seemed like a normal thing in the match and the referee did what he had to do.

“He went to VAR three times and considered two penalties and one yellow card. I’d have to watch it again to talk about it, but I think the VAR did its job and that’s what we have to accept.”