Former Portugal coach Fernando Santos has no regrets about benching Cristiano Ronaldo during the Round Of 16 clash of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Ronaldo was benched in the match against South Korea and in the quarter-final loss against Morocco, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner started on the bench as well. The decision sparked many pundits and fans questioning the Portuguese coach after his country was knocked out by underdogs Morocco.

However, the new Besiktas coach has defended his decision by labelling it as ‘tactical’ and even said that if Portugal were not beaten in the quarterfinal there would have been no problem.

“It was a tactical and technical decision. There was no other situation. Strategic decisions are always the most important things for me. I had to make these decisions and I made them correctly. If we had not been eliminated from the World Cup, there would have been no problem.” (Sports Success Story: From Dream To Dominance, Cristiano Ronaldo’s Unstoppable Journey To Soccer Greatness)

“I told him that he was not going to start in the Round of 16. He was not happy with the conversation, as is normal. But it was a normal conversation where everyone showed their point of view. When a player is captain of Portugal and starts on the bench, it’s normal for him not to be happy. When I told him that I wasn’t going to play as a starter, he asked me if it was a good idea. Of course he wasn’t happy. But I assure you that he never wanted to leave.”

While Santos left the national team as soon as they were eliminated, Cristiano Ronaldo is still a member of that squad. After resigning, he had been unemployed, and he has recently joined the Turkish powerhouses. (Cristiano Ronaldo Buys ‘Billionaires Island’ In Dubai – Report)

Santos started Ramos, a little-known forward who made his international debut three weeks ago. Ramos’ first career start for his national team came as Ronaldo’s replacement and he scored on just his fourth touch of the game in the 17th minute to give Portugal a 1-0 lead. Santos added goals in the 51st — a goal Ronaldo celebrated as he warmed up on the sidelines with the rest of the substitutes — and again in the 67th.

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