Cristiano Ronaldo benched, walks off early, Portugal vs Switzerland result, score, Fernando Santos, reaction, Goncalo Ramos hat-trick

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Sportem
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Manchester United great Gary Neville has urged former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo to quit “sulking” after the Portugal forward was dropped for the Round of 16 clash with Switzerland on Wednesday [AEDT].

Portugal coach Fernando Santos opted to play Goncalo Ramos up front instead, with the 21-year-old playing a starring role as he scored three goals in a 6-1 win.

Ronaldo, 37, the only man to score at five World Cups, angered Fernando Santos with his reaction to being substituted in the last group game, the defeat by South Korea.

He then created even more headlines by appearing to walk off the field early as his teammates celebrated with fans after the victory.

“I don’t know what Ronaldo is doing here? He’s heading off the field first,” former Socceroo Craig Foster said in commentary for SBS.

Ronaldo was pictured celebrating in some capacity though but left early nonetheless, creating further drama surrounding what his role in the team will look like throughout the tournament.

“And the Ronaldo story goes on,” added Foster.

“Of course he’s going to be disappointed he’s not on. That’s his personality. That’s how you win five Ballon d’ors.”

But Foster went on to say that Ronaldo still had to be pleased with Portugal’s performance as he looks to break the country’s record for most World Cup goals scored by a player.

“He has to be delighted that they’re winning,” Foster added.

“He gets more game time. He wants to equal Eusébio. He needs to stay in the competition and he wants to win this competition. Messi is still involved in the competition.

“For him, I wouldn’t say it’s perfect this morning but it’s still ideal. He’s still alive. He’s got an opportunity to break more records.”

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Cristiano Ronaldo looks on from the bench prior to the game. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Ronaldo was hogging the headlines at the tournament even before he kicked a ball after launching a tirade against Manchester United and their manager Erik ten Hag.

Following an exit from Old Trafford by “mutual agreement” he is now seeking a new team, with sources saying he is in talks over a blockbuster deal with Saudi club Al-Nassr.

The superstar forward, who is appearing in what is almost certainly his last World Cup, has been a shadow of his former self in Qatar despite all the hype.

After scoring a penalty in his team’s opening clash against Ghana to become the first player to score at five World Cups, he has huffed and puffed but has failed to find the net again.

Speaking on ITV ahead of Wednesday’s game, Neville called on Ronaldo to be a better teammate as Portugal looks to go all the way in Qatar.

Football great appears to knee man | 00:52

“This is a manager [Santos] who’s got an unbelievable relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo for eight years,” he told ITV.

“There are a lot of fans of Cristiano Ronaldo who aren’t willing to tell him the truth and I think he does need to listen to the truth.

“It’s becoming a little bit of a scruffy end. It won’t surprise me if he came on tonight and scored the winner. But the petulance, the stomping around, the sulking… it’s got to stop because it doesn’t reflect well on him at all.”

Neville went on to add that Ronaldo’s “long-term legacy” is “protected” and unchanged by current events given all that he achieved on the field but warned he still has to be “a lot better”.

“Is the Juventus manager wrong? Is the Manchester United manager wrong? And now is the Portugal manager wrong?” Neville asked.

“There’s three of them that now have done the same thing with him.

“His single mindedness has been one of his greatest strengths over the last 10, 15 years. His determination to become one of the best in the world, to score the most goals, to break all the records, that fight with [Lionel] Messi.

Ronaldo had to watch from the bench. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

“But there comes a point where you still have to think about the collective and that’s your team-mates in the dressing room. You’re leaving the game early like you did at United twice, stomping off the other day.

“It’s coming to that point where he’s not accepting the end of his career very well.”

Former England forward Ian Wright also added his voice to the discussion, questioning whether Ronaldo is simply struggling to accept that he will not always get what he wants.

“At the end of the day, as great as he is, it’s a team game,” Wright said.

“He’s not playing well the last two years. It’s not ending well, and it doesn’t seem like he’s enjoying it at the minute. He doesn’t seem happy.

“I don’t know how many people have said no to him. When’s the last time he’s heard ‘no’ in his life?”

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