Cristiano Ronaldo’s latest antics while playing for Manchester United could have a knock-on effect on his position in the Portugal national team.
The 37 year old stormed down the tunnel and out of Old Trafford on Wednesday. At first it appeared to have been because he was not called on as a substitute but the English press later claimed he had refused to come on along with Anthony Elanga and Christian Eriksen in the 87th minute.
As a result, the player has been dropped from the squad to face Chelsea tomorrow and has been ordered to train alone.
With the World Cup fast approaching – one that is very likely to be Ronaldo’s last – being frozen out of his club side would normally have implications for his international chances.
According to The Athletic, Ronaldo retains a “god-like status” in Portugal, and the outlet asks “who would be brave enough to drop their country’s best and most decorated player of all time?”
However, a recent survey in Portuguese outlet A Bola reveals that considerably more fans believe the situation is Ronaldo’s fault than Ten Hag’s.
The survey question was “whose fault is it that the relationship between Ronaldo and Ten Hag has reached the point of no return?”
41% of the respondents said it was player’s fault, with only 27% blaming the United manager.
11% blamed the club while 21% said it was “everybody’s fault”.
Source: A Bola
The results make for grim reading for Ronaldo, who until recently could hardly be criticised in public in Portugal without outrage.
the halo is definitely slipping. Earlier this month, Ronaldo’s sister Katia Aveiro took to social media to condemn the Portuguese public after some had dared to criticise his poor performance against Spain in the recent Nations League tie.
Aveiro said “The Portuguese spit on the plate they eat, it has always been that way… With you always, my king.
“The Portuguese are sick, petty, soulless, stupid, unappreciative and forever ungrateful. The guy [is] on his knees… There’s no one to give him a hand. It is cruel.
“He is just the best player in the world.” (source: A Bola)
Portugal manager Fernando Santos has so far stuck religiously with Ronaldo, often for 90 minutes, whilst players such as Joao Felix and Rafael Leão warm the bench and explosive young pretenders such as Gonçalo Ramos and Fabio Silva are yet to even be capped.
However, the shift in public opinion could give the manager licence to use the 37 year old more sparingly. On paper, Portugal’s squad is stronger than it has ever been and winning the competition must be considered a real possibility that sticking with a rusty Ronaldo could compromise.
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