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Portugal deny that Cristiano Ronaldo threatened to leave the World Cup after being dropped

Portuguese news outlet Record report that Ronaldo, the Portugal captain, threatened to leave the tournament in Qatar after the 37-year-old was told he would not start against the Swiss.

The superstar forward had reacted angrily when he was substituted in their last group match against South Korea and the Portugal coach, Fernando Santos, said before the Switzerland game that he did not like that reaction from Ronaldo.

He came off the bench for the final 18 minutes against Switzerland. His replacement, Gonçalo Ramos, scored a hat-trick on his first international start as Portugal won 6-1 to advance to a quarterfinal against Morocco on Sunday (NZ time).

Alone, Ronaldo walked off the field at full-time while the rest of the Portuguese team celebrated beating the Swiss at Lusail Stadium.

Record report that Ronaldo threatened to leave the World Cup after being dropped but changed his mind. He didn’t look pleased when he took his place on the bench against Switzerland.

The Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) denied the claim ahead of the quarterfinals.

“At no time did Cristiano Ronaldo threaten to leave the national team during the stay in Qatar,” the FPF said in a statement.

“Cristiano Ronaldo builds up a unique track record every day at the service of the national team and the country, which must be respected.

“The degree of dedication of the player most capped by Portugal was again demonstrated – if necessary – in the victory against Switzerland, in the round of 16 of the 2022 World Cup.”

Ronaldo is Portugal’s most-capped player, with 195 appearances, and is their all-time leading scorer, with 118 goals.

After FPF’s statement on Friday (NZ time), Ronaldo shared social media posts on his official accounts.

He said: “A group too close to be broken by outside forces. A nation too brave to let itself be frightened by any adversary. A team in the truest sense of the word, which will fight for the dream until the end! Believe with us! Strength, Portugal!”

Ronaldo left Manchester United by mutual agreement before the World Cup after his controversial interview in which he criticised the club after not starting regularly in the Premier League this season.

He is reportedly a target for Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr who could make a huge offer for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.