Cristiano Ronaldo was dropped for Portugal’s round of 16 tie against Switzerland at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The news created ripples across the world.
Interestingly, Portugal didn’t appear to miss him at all!
In Ronaldo’s absence, the team played flowing football and hammered Switzerland 6-1.
Ronaldo’s replacement in the team, 21-year-old Goncalo Ramos, scored a sensational hat-trick.
Why was Ronaldo dropped
We need to go back to Portugal’s final group match against South Korea.
Ronaldo was substituted in the 65th minute and he didn’t take it kindly, as expected.
Ronaldo put his finger to his lips and made the universal gesture for “be quiet”.
He later claimed that he was responding to Korea’s Cho Gue-sung telling him to hurry up and get off the pitch.
But not everybody seemed to buy this explanation.
Portugal’s boss Fernando Santos, speaking about the incident ahead of the clash against Switzerland, said: “Have I seen the images? Yes, I didn’t like it, not at all. I didn’t like it. I really didn’t like it.”
“But from that moment onwards everything is finished regarding that issue. These matters are resolved behind closed doors. It’s resolved.”
“Full stop on this matter and now everyone is focused on tomorrow’s match.”
This was Santos’ way of showing his disapproval and there is every indication that he wanted to punch Ronaldo for his behaviour.
Santos also went one step further and refused to confirm Ronaldo as his captain.
“I only decide who is going to be captain when I reach the stadium. I still don’t know what the line-up will be.”
“That’s what I’ve always done and that’s what I’m always going to do and it’s going to be the same tomorrow.”
This is not good news for Ronaldo who is clearly past his best.
His refusal to play the pressing game has huge negative consequences for Portugal.
Against Switzerland, Goncalo Ramos took Ronaldo’s place in the team.
Ramos plays for Benfica and made his fourth appearance for Portugal against Switzerland.