Cristiano Ronaldo walks off on his own as his Portugal team-mates celebrate their 6-1 thrashing of Switzerland to reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup… after he had been DROPPED from the starting XI for the last-16 clash
- Relive all the action from Portugal’s stunning 6-1 last 16 win over Switzerland
- Cristiano Ronaldo was left on the bench by Portugal manager Fernando Santos
- Hat-trick hero Goncalo Ramos excelled for Portugal in Ronaldo’s absence
- The 37-year-old at last took to the pitch in the 73rd minute with the score at 5-1
Cristiano Ronaldo was seen leaving the pitch alone after Portugal’s stunning 6-1 victory over Switzerland on Tuesday night while his team-mates continued to celebrate their stunning performance on the field.
The Portuguese captain made his own way to the dressing room following the game, having been left out of the starting line-up by coach Fernando Santos.
Portugal seemingly had no issues without the forward, with his side 5-1 up in his absence, after being left on the bench in a knockout game for his country for the first time since 2008.
Cristiano Ronaldo left the pitch on his own after the final whistle with his Portugal team-mates still celebrating
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner made his own way down the tunnel after the final whistle
The former Manchester United star walked straight past the media boards and film crews
In a clip released after the game with Portugal blowing away Switzerland at the Lusail Stadium, Portuguese players can be seen applauding on the pitch as they soak up the acclaim of their fans following a sensational display.
But apart from his colleagues is Ronaldo, who is slowly making his way across the pitch towards the Portuguese tunnel.
The 37-year-old proceeds to exit the pitch on his own, and notably his team-mates neglect to join him as they celebrate jubilantly as a group.
Fernando Santos left the forward out for the first time at a major tournament since 2008
Prior to kick-off much of the talk about Portugal’s last 16 clash naturally concerned the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, as debate raged over why he had been dropped from the side.
Ronaldo’s entrance to the pitch had been greeted with loud cheers in the crowd.
Some – including Jamie Carragher – were of the opinion that his omission came as a result of his poor performances in the tournament so far.
Despite becoming the first male player to score at five World Cup tournaments, his only goal came from a dubious penalty call against Ghana in the group stages.
But others have pointed to the fact that there appeared to be an altercation between Ronaldo and coach Santos as he was hooked against South Korea in Portugal’s final group game.
Santos left the player out of his starting XI just one day after insisting he ‘didn’t like’ the free agent’s angry reaction to being taken off in the 2-1 defeat to Son Heung-min’s side.
Portugal made it clear that they would not struggle in the absence of arguably the greatest player in their long history.
Ronaldo’s absence may have grabbed the headlines, but his side were 5-1 up by the time he entered the fray in the 73rd minute of the match.
Ronaldo’s relegation to the bench for Portugal grabbed the headlines in the lead up to the game
Goncalo Ramos in particular, the 21-year-old Benfica striker, seemed to flourish in the vacant striker position, netting a hat-trick in just his first Portugal start.
Pepe, Raphael Gurreiro, and super sub Rafael Leao scored the other three as Portugal ran riot on Tuesday evening.
Prior to kick-off the Portuguese captain had been surrounded by countless cameras and photographers when taking his place on the Portuguese bench for the first time in 14 years in a major tournament knockout game.
Fernando Santos admitted he ‘didn’t like’ Ronaldo’s reaction when he was subbed against South Korea
And his long-awaited entrance in the game was heralded by loud cheers and chants of his name, with the announcement of his name when he came onto the pitch celebrated like a goal in the stands.
There was speculation on social media that the legendary forward had appeared miserable on the bench throughout the game, neglecting to partake in his side’s celebrations at the first two goals from Ramos and Pepe.
However ITV pundit Gary Neville was quick to assuage those claims, saying: ‘There was a picture doing the rounds on social media in the first half which looked like he was miserable on the bench after they scored the first two goals – but he celebrated like crazy when they scored the first two goals.
‘And to be fair I’ve given him a bit of criticism for sulking – he wasn’t sulking.
‘He went and celebrated with Ramos and Pepe for both goals. It looked like he was miserable on social media but that’s not the case.’