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Cristiano Ronaldo's Reaction to Portugal Sub Ripped by Coach: 'I Didn't Like It'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVDecember 5, 2022

AL RAYYAN, QATAR - DECEMBER 02: Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal reacts as they are substituted during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group H match between Korea Republic and Portugal at Education City Stadium on December 02, 2022 in Al Rayyan, Qatar. (Photo by Hector Vivas - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Hector Vivas - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

Portugal manager Fernando Santos did not appreciate Cristiano Ronaldo's frustration at being subbed off in the 65th minute during Friday's 2-1 loss to South Korea.

"On the pitch, I didn't hear anything," he told reporters. "I was too far, and this is why I only saw him arguing with a South Korean player, and nothing else.

"Have I already watched the footage? Yes. I didn't like it," Santos continued. "Didn't like it at all. From there, it's things you sort out internally. It was sorted out this way, and now we think about the game tomorrow. Everyone is focused on the game."

Per ESPN's Rob Dawson, Ronaldo appeared to say, "He's in a rush to sub me" while he walked off the pitch.

Ronaldo and South Korea's Gue-sung Cho then got into a verbal altercation as the Portugal forward left the match.

"What happened was before my substitution, the South Korea player told me to get off quickly," Ronaldo told reporters afterward. "I told him to shut up as he doesn't have that authority. There was no disagreement [with the coach]."

Santos spoke about the interaction following the match as well:

"The player from Korea was insulting him telling him to go away, so that is the reason why he was angry, everyone saw that. I saw the interaction with the Korea player and I don't have any doubts about it and if you see the images you see Pepe went towards the Korea player. He was not aggressive, he was only verbally aggressive, he was speaking in English to Cristiano, and Cristiano said, 'Perhaps he had a bad day.'"

Ronaldo, 37, has made a habit of angering his managers this season, leaving a trail of discontent at Manchester United before the two sides parted ways leading into the World Cup.

"I don't have respect for [Manchester United manager] Erik ten Hag because he doesn't show respect for me," Ronaldo told Piers Morgan in an explosive interview in November. "If you don't have respect for me, I will never have any for you."

That interview appeared to be Ronaldo's boldest attempt to force a move away from United. He previously left during the second half of a preseason friendly and refused to enter an October match against Tottenham as a second-half substitute, among other confrontational actions.

Ronaldo got his wish at the club level. But his relationship with Santos, in what likely will be the veteran striker's final World Cup tournament, will be under the microscope as Portugal prepare for a matchup against Switzerland on Tuesday in the round of 16.