Portugal on Thursday denied reports that veteran forward Cristiano Ronaldo has threatened to leave the Portuguese national team during the ongoing 2022 FIFA World Cup for being benched in the team’s match against Switzerland.
“News released this Thursday reports that Cristiano Ronaldo threatened to leave the national team during a conversation with Fernando Santos, national coach,” the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) said in a statement.
“The FPF clarifies that at no time did the captain of the national team, Cristiano Ronaldo, threaten to leave the national team during the internship in Qatar,” it added.
All Portugal’s players, coaches, and staff are “fully committed” and “enthusiastic about” Portugal’s task in Qatar 2022, it said.
Portugal will face dark horses Morocco in a World Cup quarterfinal clash in Doha on Saturday.
The winning team will play against either England or France in the semifinal stage.
Ronaldo, 37, a longtime Portugal forward and EURO 2016 champion, was benched by Fernando Santos for the country’s 2022 World Cup last 16 match against Switzerland on Dec. 6 that the Portuguese team won 6-1.
He was subbed in the 74th minute of the match when Portugal were leading 5-1.
Ronaldo has been a valuable Portugal member, scoring 118 goals in 195 international caps for his nation, and played in many World Cup and EURO finals.
In November, Ronaldo, who is still a free agent, left Manchester United after his contract was terminated by mutual agreement over the player’s disputes with club manager Erik Ten Hag.