PORTUGAL coach Fernando Santos has said he does NOT regret not using Cristiano Ronaldo in the quarter-final defeat by Morocco.
Ronaldo and co saw their World Cup dreams shattered and burned as Morocco advanced to the semi-finals with a 1-0 win.
But Santos struck a defiant tone and doubled down on his decision not to start Ronaldo.
After the game he said: “I have no regrets (leaving Ronaldo on the bench).
“It wouldn’t change anything, in terms of the team, I can’t think with my heart.
“I fielded the team that played really well against Switzerland and there was no reason to change them (against Morocco).
“The strategic decision I had to make was one of the hardest, but I can’t think with my heart, I have to think with my head.
“It’s not that Ronaldo isn’t a great player anymore, that has nothing to do with it.”
Wag Georgina Rodriguez of the 37-year-old slammed Santos’ decision.
Taking to social media, she raged: “Today your friend and coach made a bad decision. That friend for whom you have so many words of admiration and respect.
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“Just like when you came into the game, he saw how everything changed, but it was too late.
The best player in the world, his most powerful weapon, cannot be underestimated.
“You can’t stand up for someone who doesn’t deserve it either. Life gives us lessons.
“Today we didn’t lose, we learned.”
Ronaldo, who was also on the bench in the 6-1 win against Switzerland, came on just after the break to force the equaliser.
However, he was unable to influence such a change and was pictured crying as he walked down the tunnel after the game.
Ronaldo is his country’s top scorer with 118 goals in 196 games.
But with his country’s elimination at what may be his last World Cup, he has failed to score in any of his eight knockout games at the tournament.
Now Morocco meets France after beating England 2-1 in the other quarter-final.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6889084/santos-defends-ronaldo-bench-portugal-defeat-morocco-world-cup/ Defiant Portugal coach Fernando Santos has NO regrets dropping Cristiano Ronaldo over World Cup loss to Morocco