Ronaldo didn't threaten to leave national team, says Portuguese FA
Portugal's football federation denied reports Thursday that Cristiano Ronaldo threatened to leave the national team amid its World Cup run.
"The FPF clarifies that at no time did the captain of the national team, Cristiano Ronaldo, threaten to leave the national team at any stage in Qatar," the Portuguese FA said in a statement translated by Reuters.
Head coach Fernando Santos benched Ronaldo ahead of Portugal's 6-1 win over Switzerland in the round of 16. The decision came after Ronaldo reacted angrily to a substitution in the Selecao's 2-1 loss to South Korea in the final round of the group stage.
"A group too united to be broken by external forces. A nation too brave to be afraid of any adversary. A team in the true sense of the word, who will fight for the dream to the end! Believe with us!" Ronaldo added on Twitter.
Ronaldo has scored just once in the World Cup, converting from the penalty spot in Portugal's opening 3-2 win over Ghana. The 37-year-old also had a goal ruled offside after coming on as a substitute in the blowout victory over Switzerland.
Contrary to rumors of a rift in the national team, Ronaldo celebrated the majority of Portugal's goals with his teammates and shared laughs with fellow substitutes on the sidelines.
However, Santos said Ronaldo's future role in the team "has to be defined," casting doubt over his participation in Portugal's quarterfinal clash against Morocco on Saturday.
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