Portugal Coach Fernando Santos Opens Up On Benching Cristiano Ronaldo In World Cup

Portugal coach Fernando Santos said his decision to leave Cristiano Ronaldo out of his squad for Tuesday's 6-1 win over Switzerland in the World Cup round of 16 was "strategic and nothing else". Santos has expressed his anger at Ronaldo's reaction to his suspension in the group's final match in South Korea, but said it had no impact.

"I said it was closed and closed. Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the best players in the world who plays professionally and as a we will think about this team together," he said.

When asked if it was the most difficult decision of his career to leave Ronaldo, Santos said: "I have a close relationship that I've had, I've known him since he was 19 at Sporting, then for many years here and one country", he said.

"Ronaldo and I do not dispute the human and personal aspects of the coach-player relationship. He is a very important player to have in the team," said Santos, who said he expected a "tough" match against Morocco in the quarterfinals, but said his team was in good shape. "If we can continue like this and improve some things, it's a good way," he added.