Cristiano Ronaldo has insisted that his angry reaction to being substituted against South Korea was aimed at an opponent, not the Portugal manager.
Portugal’s campaign in the 2022 FIFA World Cup group stage ended in a forgettable manner as they were beaten by South Korea 2-1 on Matchday 3.
During the game, Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo was subbed off after playing an hour of football without much impact in front of goal amid reports that he didn’t train on the eve of the match.
As Cristiano Ronaldo was walking off the field, he was seen having a heated altercation with many assuming it was an argument with head coach Fernando Santos.
Portugal boss Fernando Santos has claimed that Cristiano Ronaldo was insulted by South Korea’s Cho Gue-Sung as he left the field of play in their shock World Cup defeat in Qatar.
The Asian underdogs came from behind to snatch a stoppage-time winner against the Euro 2016 champions as Wolves forward Hwang Hee-chan secured hero status with a priceless goal to put his side through into the last 16.
Cristiano Ronaldo reacted angrily to being substituted during Portugal’s 2-1 defeat to South Korea in the World Cup on Friday, December 2nd, 2022.
The 37-year-old seemed to be aiming his frustrations at Portugal manager Fernando Santos but he has since revealed that wasn’t the case.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is currently a free agent after mutually agreeing to terminate his contract at Manchester United.
Cristiano Ronaldo has been linked with a shock transfer to Chelsea as he now focuses on winning the World Cup in what is set to be his final World Cup tournament.
Speaking to reporters, Cristiano Ronaldo said: “The Korean player (Cho Gue-sung) was telling me to leave quickly and I told him to shut up because he has no authority”.
The Portuguese superstar then added that “there is no need for controversy. It’s the heat of the match. Whatever happens, things always stay on the pitch. The most important thing is that we have to be united. We are in the next phase. Not only the players but also the Portuguese people have to be confident.”
When Santos was asked about the incident he responded: “The player from Korea was insulting him telling him to go away, so that is the reason why he was angry, everyone saw that.”
“I saw the interaction with the Korean player and I don’t have any doubts about it if you see the images you see Pepe went toward the Korean player. Santos added.”
Note that 37-year-old has been substituted in each of Portugal’s World Cup fixtures so far.
Portugal qualified for the knockout stage as group winners despite losing to South Korea 2-1 in the final group game.
What’s Next for Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo?
Fernando Santos’ side will face Switzerland in the round of 16 on Tuesday, December 6, 2022, and Ronaldo will hope to start and play the full 90 minutes as he will be looking forward to helping his team qualify for the next round.