Euro 2020 Qualifiers: Portuguese coach Fernando Santos had enough of Ronaldo.
Portugal coach Fernando Santos grew tired with a barrage of questions on Cristiano Ronaldo’s role at Juventus during a press conference ahead of the Euro 2020 qualifier against Lithuania.
He expressed in exasperation that everybody wants to talk about Cristiano Ronaldo, and give their opinion on CR7.
“Because if this thing [the substitution] was with any other player, nobody would talk about it. We are only talking about this because it’s Cristiano Ronaldo,” he said.
Santos pointed out that there are millions of players out there and questioned why this only happens to him and maybe another two or three players.
“Cristiano is here, he was called up, he’s fine, he’ll play, I have no doubts about it. So, for me, there’s no issue here.”
Santos was clearly miffed as he received another question on Ronaldo: “Cristiano Ronaldo again? No, sorry, sorry.
The five-time Golden Ball winner had been replaced this weekend in a Serie A match for Juventus. His coach Maurizio Sarri then spoke of "a small knee problem" to justify the early replacement of the 34-year-old striker.
CR7 had left the field before the hour of play and the television pictures had shown it. Displaying a gloomy look, Ronaldo let go of a few words in the bench's direction, before returning directly to the locker room to give way to Paulo Dybala, the goalscorer against AC Milan in a 1-0 win.
At the same time, Santos noted that Ronaldo is in a condition to face Lithuania.
"If Ronaldo was not fit, I would not have summoned him. He is good, and he will play, there is no doubt about it, " Santos told the press, annoyed by the questions concerning the physical skills of the captain of La Selecao for this crucial meeting for the qualification.
Portugal is second in Group B, where Ukraine is guaranteed to finish first. Portugal, the reigning European champion, is only one point ahead of Serbia which is still in the race for qualification.
Meanwhile, no action will be taken on Ronaldo, according to his club coach Maurizio Sarri in an attempt to defuse the matter.
"Ronaldo, a problem? No, on the contrary,” said Sarri in reply to a question from a reporter after the match. Already, I thank him for having made available while he is not in exceptional physical condition. I preferred to replace it because it did not seem very good. But he did everything to be ready to play. To be pissed off is normality. It's for all players, especially those who have made sacrifices."
Asked whether he would "pull the ears" of the Portuguese, Sarri replied, "No, there is a threshold of tolerance with those who try to give everything. Five minutes of anger, that seems normal to me. It's also fun for a coach to see a furious player go out. It's more the opposite that would worry me.”
The match against AC Milan was Ronaldo’s 1,000th pro game. With the milestones which few can boast, he joined the likes of Xavi, Ryan Giggs, Paolo Maldini and Iker Casillas in a club of legendary players, with numerous titles won both in club and selection.
In his illustrious career, Ronaldo had played for Sporting, Manchester United, Real Madrid and now Juventus.
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