Morocco vs Portugal: Ronaldo benched again for World Cup quarter-final

Cristiano Ronaldo pictured during Portugal's clash with Switzerland on Tuesday. Credit: AP

Cristiano Ronaldo is starting on the bench for Portugal for the second game in a row at the World Cup. The 37-year-old remained out of the starting lineup against Morocco for the quarter-final match at 3pm on Saturday after being dropped for the round-of-16 match against Switzerland. Gonçalo Ramos, who scored a hat trick against Switzerland on his first start for Portugal, was again selected ahead of Ronaldo.

Later on Saturday at 7pm, England and France are also set to battle it out for a place in the semi-finals. The two giants of European football will meet at the Al Bayt Stadium, with the winner facing Morocco or Portugal in the semi-finals on Wednesday.

Ronaldo is playing in his fifth and likely final World Cup. He was left out of the lineup against the Swiss after coach Fernando Santos expressed frustration about his team captain’s attitude in the previous game.

Ronaldo reacts after missing a scoring chance during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Portugal and Switzerland. Credit: AP

Santos later said Ronaldo was “not happy” to be told he was being benched, but never threatened to leave the World Cup because of his decision. Ronaldo, the all-time leading scorer in men's national team soccer with 118 goals, eventually came in as a replacement in the 74th minute.

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