Cristiano Ronaldo was shocked by a huge change in Portugal's World Cup lineup

Soccer news Dec 7, 2022

The end might be slow or quick, depending on the circumstances. Oftentimes both are true.
Exactly two weeks after Cristiano Ronaldo's departure from Manchester United, the Portuguese
national team decided to bench him. After being released by his club and his nation, Ronaldo
should not go looking for Piers Morgan in order to repeat his betrayal grievances. During
Ronaldo's absence, a surprise emerged in the form of Goncalo Ramos, who channeled his inner
Geoff Hurst by coming off the bench to start a World Cup game and score a hat trick in the
round of 16.
After an hour, the chants of Ronaldo's echoed throughout the Lusail, although they were
meant as an homage rather than a protest. The controversial decision that Fernando Santos
made as a manager was beginning to appear like the right one. When Ronaldo came in for the
final 18 minutes, he was greeted with a thunderous ovation, but his arrival marked a dramatic
reversal in Ronaldo's standing with the team's fans. Many people's opinion of the greatest
player of all time is now second fiddle to a guy who was uncapped three weeks ago.
Ronaldo saw firsthand that both Portugal and his old club were better off without him on the
field as they scored at least five goals in a World Cup quarterfinal game for the first time since
Eusebio inspired a comeback against North Korea in 1966.
Just a few days ago, he probably would have loved to see Portugal's center striker score a hat
trick at this stadium. He would have liked it more if it had been a grizzled veteran scoring the
goal on a bullet header, but it was really Pepe. Even when Portugal advanced into the
quarterfinals, the possibility that if they did win the World Cup, it would be hoisted by Pepe was
raised due to Ronaldo's ecstatic celebration, which inevitably prompted jokes that he was
attempting to claim it.
The strain of replacing Ronaldo seemed unjust to put on a rookie, especially because Santos
found an even older captain in Pepe and a much younger striker in Ramos, who had just turned
three the last time Ronaldo missed a crucial tournament game for his nation. On the contrary,
Ramos seems unfazed. He smashed a vicious shot on goal, set up a predatory near-post finish,
then dinked the ball over Yann Sommer. Both Pepeo's header and Rafael Leao's injury-time
curler were the kinds of finishes a guy with 819 career goals might produce, but Ramos gave the
mobility Ronaldo lacked as Portugal went amok. Both of Joao Felix's assists came through
superb teamwork with the newcomer, which included Joao Felix's assists. At long last, an

offensively gifted team lived up to its full potential. As soon as Ronaldo left, they seemed more

So it's not all his fault there. His toned body, however, isn't quite up to the task of matching the
fluidity of a 21-year- old's. But the competition that saw Ronaldo become the first player in
World Cup history to score in all five rounds has taken on a sobering tone. Even while wearing
an Argentina jersey, Lionel Messi has seldom looked better. Despite being just 23 years old,
Kylian Mbappe has more World Cup goals than Ronaldo. Ramos scored more goals in the
knockout rounds in the first 17 minutes than Ronaldo had scored in the 532 minutes since
2006. Ronaldo was offside even when he scored in his brief cameo appearance; he is
increasingly doing this to make up for a decline in his speed.
If he has been relegated to the past, he represents a connection to that time period. In fact,
Ramos hasn't seen action in a World Cup or European Championship match since 2004, when
Spain beat Russia in a penalty shootout. That was 6,747 days ago when Ramos was only a kid.
World Cups mark the conclusion of eras, but few have lasted as long. The Russia match seemed
more like it took place in the summer of 1986 when Diego Maradona was at the height of his
fame than in the present day.
Occasionally, teamsheets will have an ethereal, old-timey vibe about them. That's exactly what
it was looking for. In order to get the perfect shot of a replacement wearing a bib,
photographers congregated near a dugout. Rather than being on his back, he was holding the
fabled No. 7 jersey. Santos still had to wave them off the bench a few minutes after the first
kick. The cameras recorded a guy staring blankly into the horizon, maybe for the first time
considering the finite nature of his football career. Ronaldo is a product of his own
determination; he went from being a talented but underachieving adolescent to the game's all-
time leading scorer.
He has accomplished so much in his life that it is reasonable if he is having trouble adjusting to
his current circumstances. He responded better here than he had elsewhere in decline
characterized by criticism; he was warming up when Portugal scored their third and fourth
goals, and he smiled broadly in response to Ramos's second and applauded enthusiastically
after Raphael Guerreiro's thunderous finish. He did not refuse to come on this time, unlike
during Manchester United's victory against Tottenham.
The energy shown by Portugal proved his dismissal was a footballing decision and not the result
of a personal grudge. However, if results were the deciding factor, Ronaldo's temper tantrums
would not have helped his case. Against South Korea, Santos was clearly dissatisfied with his
response to being taken out of the game. One could be tempted to conclude that his

participation in that game was an effort to artificially inflate his stats. Maybe it's unjust, but
Ronaldo's extreme egotism was a key factor in his success. In fact, it was a highlight of his
World Cup.
This, however, marked a dramatic shift in tone. The Portuguese team stopped pretending to be
in awe of Ronaldo. Both the midfielder and the manager were unwilling to concede the truth
during their last trip to the Lusail, so they indulged the pretense that he had scored a Bruno
Fernandes goal. Ronaldo seemed to have that much influence.
Nonetheless, it has faded amid a year of unimaginable humiliations; he was left out of two
Manchester derbies, going to Portugal for the first and not being called on in the second. In the
summer, when he offered his services, no one was interested. He had refused to acknowledge
his own deterioration, becoming more senile and arrogant as the year 2022 approached.
Seventy percent of A Bola readers favored dropping Ronaldo; the idea that a legend may
damage the squad was formerly unthinkable but is now widely accepted, similar to how the
majority of United supporters supported Erik ten Hag. His old bosses have moved on, and
Ramos has solidified the need for reform in Portugal. Now, Ronaldo is Portugal's third-stringer,
behind Luis Figo and Simao Sabrosa, for the first time since the tournamen's opening match in

More News - 

MORE FROM Sports Schedule