Qatar 2022: Cristiano Ronaldo reacts to reports he wants to leave World Cup

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Cristiano Ronaldo has denied reports that he wanted to leave the World Cup after Portugal benched him in the round of 16 victory over Switzerland, claiming that the team is still “united.”

Ronaldo’s club career was in jeopardy just before the World Cup began due to a squabble with Manchester United, and he has struggled to find his form in Qatar as he attempts to break the late Eusebio’s record for most goals scored by Portugal in a tournament.

With each subsequent game, the 37-year-playing old’s time has decreased, and Fernando Santos completely omitted him from the starting lineup for the match against Switzerland.

Goncalo Ramos, a 21-year-old replacement for Ronaldo who started his first-ever international match, scored a hat-trick, making it potentially difficult for Santos to resume his captaincy as Portugal looks to advance further in the tournament.

When Ronaldo was replaced against South Korea, he was visibly upset. He and Santos later acknowledged that the reason for the substitution was an altercation with an opposing player, which prevented Ronaldo from leaving the field.

Bruno Fernandes, a former teammate of Ronaldo’s at Manchester United, recently defended the player, stating that any player would be unhappy to be benched.

Ronaldo allegedly threatened to quit the World Cup before deciding to stay, according to a later report in the Portuguese media. The Portuguese Football Federation, however, insisted that was never the case in a statement.

Ronaldo has now addressed the speculation himself, declaring, “This group is too united to be broken by external forces. A nation too brave to be intimidated by any adversary. This is a true team, that will fight for the dream until the end.”

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