Portugal’s coach doesn’t regret benching Ronaldo vs Morocco

Portugal was eliminated from the World Cup on Saturday by a 1-0 loss to Morocco in their quarterfinal match. Portugal’s coach and manager, Fernando Santos, stated he would not reconsider his choice to start Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench. Ronaldo, who has 118 goals in 195 games for Portugal, didn’t play in the team’s 6-1 round-of-16 victory over Switzerland on Tuesday, where 21-year-old substitute Ramos scored a hat trick.

Portugal’s coach doesn’t regret benching Ronaldo vs. Morocco

After the final whistle, Ronaldo rushed off the field, sobbing uncontrollably as his teammates consoled him. Morocco’s Atlas Lions extended their dream run. Thus, they roared into the history books by becoming the first-ever African and Arab country to reach the final four of the tournament thanks to a Youssef En-Nesyri goal in the first half.

Santos declined to say whether he plans to resign and instead stated he will discuss his future with the president of the Portuguese FA next week. Also, he credited the disciplined Moroccan defensive lines for making it tough for his team to find openings. Plus, he felt their opponents deserved credit for making it difficult for them.

Official Statements

“I do not regret (leaving Ronaldo on the bench),” coach Santos told a news conference on Saturday.

“It wouldn’t change anything; in terms of the team, I can’t be thinking with my heart.

“I used the team that played well against Switzerland, and there was no reason to change it (against Morocco).

“The strategic decision that I had to make was one of the hardest, but I can’t think with my heart; II have to think with my head.

“It’s not that Ronaldo is no longer a great player, that has nothing to do with it.”

“Sometimes in football what you need is a little bit of luck,” Santos said.

“We showed effort and quality, had several chances to score with Joao Felix, and Bruno Fernandes hit the bar, Pepe had a header in the end that could have been the equaliser… A bit of luck was missing.”

Portugal's coach doesn't regret benching Ronaldo vs Morocco

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