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06th Dec 2022

Gary Neville reacts to Cristiano Ronaldo’s omission from Portugal starting XI

Callum Boyle

Ronaldo starts on the bench for Portugal

Portugal boss Fernando Santos has made a huge call by deciding to start Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench in their last 16 fixture against Switzerland.

Ronaldo’s recent behaviour left Santos less than impressed after he appeared to sulk when being brought off in the 2-1 defeat against South Korea.

The 37-year-old had reportedly settled his differences with his manager but it’s not enough to warrant a place in the starting XI, with Benfica’s Gonçalo Ramos replacing him instead.

Before the game a Portuguese media outlet asked its readers if Ronaldo should start the game and the results showed that the large majority (70 per cent) wanted their captain dropped.

Asked about the decision to drop Ronaldo, ITV pundit Gary Neville agreed with Santos and warned his former teammate to drop the attitude.

He said: “It wouldn’t surprise me if Ronaldo comes on and scores the winner but the petulance and sulking has to stop

“He is one of the all time great players but in the short term he has to do better.”

Neville’s colleague Ian Wright also agreed with Neville and said that he believes that Ronaldo isn’t enjoying football like he used to.

“As great as he is, it’s a team game. He’s not playing well, the last few years. It’s not ending well, and it seems to be that he is not enjoying it. It’s a sad situation.”

It comes just weeks after it was confirmed that Ronaldo would leave Manchester United by mutual consent with immediate effect after his explosive interview with Piers Morgan.

A win for Portugal will see them go on to face Morocco in the quarter finals after they beat Spain on penalties.

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