Even when Cristiano Ronaldo isn’t around, he’s the center of attention. It’s the elephant in the room.
During Portugal’s press conference ahead of Saturday’s quarter-final match against Morocco, there was much talk about the legendary striker.
This has been at the center of controversy since coach Fernando Santos chose to leave him on the bench for the round of 16.
As the Portuguese demolished Switzerland with a score of 6 to 1 and Ronaldo did not take part in the scoring after the 74th minute, the Portuguese press made a great opportunity to get out of the situation.
leave him alone
Santos detailed how he made his decision, but especially how he announced it to his 37-year-old veteran. He noted that great importance was attached to the situation.
Santos insisted: “In a press conference, 90% of the questions are about him. But whether you talk to him before the game or on the day of the match, what is important?
Over the past few days, we have been hearing about Ronaldo’s possible early departure from Qatar, who will be getting frustrated with the situation, causing Santos to complain.
“He never told me he wanted to leave our national team and I think it’s time to end this controversy. During this match, he was the one who took the initiative in warming up and celebrating all the goals. He was the one who even invited his teammates to thank the fans. You have to leave him alone.” .
Better without Ronaldo
Moroccan coach Walid Regragui also entered the discussion when asked if he would prefer to face Portugal with or without Ronaldo.
“It will be a tough game, they have quality everywhere. Will Ronaldo play? As a coach, I hope he doesn’t because he is one of the best players in history.
If he said that, it was because he knew full well that his team was starting to pile on tiredness despite their good performance.
“We played a lot of big cars from the start, we released a lot of energy. We played against Croatia, Belgium and Canada, which are one of the best teams in North America, and Spain, the team that makes you run the most.
“The more matches you progress, the more difficult it gets. It’s one of the best teams in the world. We’ll try to surprise again because no one expected us this quarter.”
do not ignite
It will be the third confrontation in history between the two countries that shared the honors in the first two matches. In 1986, Morocco beat Portugal in their last group stage match to qualify for the finals for the first and only time in their history.
Moreover, Morocco, which is the fourth African country to reach the quarter-finals, can become the first African country to play in the semi-finals if it defeats Portugal.
We must not light up. We had a performance against Spain. Are we able to do it again in four days? That’s the challenge I pose to my players,” Regracki warned.
As Regragui said, no one expected his team to reach the quarter-finals. However, he has chosen to keep his feet firmly planted on the ground as Morocco, Africa and the Arab world line up behind his team.
He said, “I haven’t climbed into the cloud yet.” We are trying to change the mentality. It’s what’s happening abroad, but we’re in competition. We can still do more and better.”
“The minute people think that, we’re going to be tough to beat. Right now, we’ve just blown some stats out of universities that were having fun making predictions. We’re here to upset all of that. Players are hungry and don’t think they’re happy just being in a quarter.”