Cristiano Ronaldo family bite back at Portugal boss for World Cup axe

England undergo recovery session after beating Senegal at World Cup

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Cristiano Ronaldo’s partner Georgina Rodriguez has bit back at Portugal manager Fernando Santos for dropping the 37-year-old striker to the bench for Tuesday’s World Cup win against Switzerland. He watched five of the goals in the 6-1 triumph from the bench before playing the final 17 minutes, and his family have publicly hit out at the decision.

After the win, he wrote on Instagram: “What an incredible day for Portugal, with a historic result in the biggest competition in world football. A luxury exhibition for a team full of talent and youth. Our selection is to be congratulated. The dream is alive! Until the end! Strength, Portugal!”

But Ronaldo’s partner, Rodriguez, aimed her caption on the same social media platform at Santos for dropping him to the bench. The 28-year-old congratulated Portugal for the momentous win but directed her frustration at the manager for his surprise snub.

“Congratulations Portugal! While the 11 players were singing the anthem, all the goals were on you. What a shame not to have been able to enjoy the best player in the world for the 90 minutes. The supporters kept asking for you and shouting your name. I hope God and your dear friend Fernando will continue to hold our hands and keep us going for another night,” Rodriguez posted.

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A post shared by Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano)

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A post shared by Georgina Rodríguez (@georginagio)

Ronaldo’s sister, Katia Aveiro, also took to social media to react to his snub. Accompanied by a photo of most of the press aiming their cameras toward the five-time Ballon d’Or winner before kick-off, she wrote: “The match is over there, but look who they’re all watching.”

Ronaldo has been an untenable member of Santos’ Portugal set-up since he took charge in 2014. However, other than netting a penalty in the opening 3-2 win against Ghana, the former Manchester United superstar has endured a poor 2022 World Cup and has suffered the consequences.

The iconic No 7 has battled the sad reality of his declining ability this season, reacting badly to being dropped by Erik ten Hag in favour of more youthful, fluid forwards at Old Trafford. And that fate has now leaked into the national team, something unthinkable under Santos’ reign.

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But the Portugal boss has been hailed for his decision after reaping the rewards, with exuberant young attackers like Goncalo Ramos, Joao Felix and Rafael Leao taking centre stage. And the success of his experiment could condemn Ronaldo to a bit-part role for the remainder of the tournament in Qatar.

Portugal face Morocco in the quarter-finals on Saturday, and it’d be a shock to see Ramos drop to the bench after his World Cup debut hat-trick against Switzerland. It’s rather astonishing to think that there are just two rounds away from a fantasy Argentina vs Portugal final – but with Lionel Messi in a starring role and Ronaldo watching from the wings.

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