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Saturday, January 28, 2023

Photo: Manchester United star consoles crestfallen Cristiano Ronaldo at full-time in 6-1 win

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A 6-1 victory in the World Cup is usually a very happy occasion worthy of celebration. For Portugal it was just that – but as ever – Cristiano Ronaldo is more of an individual than a team player.

Ronaldo was left on the bench in Portugal’s win over Switzerland, with manager Fernando Santos deciding to go with Goncalo Ramos instead – who scored a hat-trick.

Ronaldo did celebrate the first two goals on the bench to be fair. Soon afterwards, his frustration was evident, as Portugal piled up the goals without him.

He did make it onto the pitch for the final 15 minutes, and scored, only for the goal to be ruled offside.

By full-time, Ronaldo looked fed up.

Dalot consoles Ronaldo

Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images

Manchester United defender Diogo Dalot made a point of seeking over former clubmate Ronaldo at full-time to console him.

Ronaldo’s face told a story, the frustration was etched on it. Not only did he fail to add to the goals during his cameo, he saw what we all saw – Portugal are a better team without him, whether he is prepared to admit it or not.

The 37-year-old will surely be on the bench again when Portugal face Morocco in the quarter-finals. There’s no way Goncalo Ramos can be left out after this.

This was a chastening night for Ronaldo, in a World Cup where a lot seems to be going wrong for him.

His only goal came from the penalty spot in the opening game. Since then he has unsuccessfully claimed a goal against Uruguay, and assisted a goal for South Korea, before throwing a strop when he was substituted.

Gary Neville said before the game that Ronaldo now needs to listen, having been told by multiple bosses that he should not be in the starting line-up. He may be facing up to a new reality.

Dan is still wondering what would have happened if United had kept Juan Veron…

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