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Cristiano Ronaldo benched by Portugal: Punishment or sporting decision?

Fernando Santos decided to drop Cristiano Ronaldo to the bench for Portugal's round of 16 duel against Switzerland on Tuesday.

The Portuguese coach started Goncalo Ramos up front alongside Bruno Fernandes and Joao Felix.

"I didn't like it" Santos not happy with Ronaldo after Korea Republic gameAP

His decision comes following Ronaldo's reaction after being replaced in the 65th minute of his team's last group-stage game against South Korea.

Sporting decision or punishment?

The former Manchester United forward was visibly frustrated after being subbed off, with Santos expressing his unease about Ronaldo's attitude.

"Let's split this answer in two, right after the match I spoke in the flash interview and then went to the press conference," Santos said on Monday.

"There I said something I'll repeat here, I didn't hear anything

"I was too far away and I only saw him arguing with a South Korean player, and nothing else.

"Have I already watched the footage? Yes. I didn't like it. I didn't like it at all.

"From there, it's things you sort out internally, it was sorted out this way, and now we think about the game tomorrow.

"Everyone is focused on the game."

Cristiano Ronaldo as a substitute in Portugal vs Switzerland

Cristiano Ronaldo as a substitute in Portugal vs SwitzerlandAP

Ronaldo was slammed by Neville

Manchester United legend Gary Neville used Erik ten Hag's turbulent relationship with Ronaldo at the Red Devils as an example to indicate that the Portuguese star has to work on his attitude.

"When it happened at United it was suggested Erik ten Hag was trying to stamp his authority, but the Portugal manager has had an unbelievable relationship with him for a number of years," Neville told ITV.

"There are a lot of fans of Cristiano Ronaldo that aren't willing to tell him the truth and I think that he does need to listen to the truth and it's becoming a little bit of a scruffy end.

"It wouldn't surprise me if he came on tonight and scored the winner, but the petulance, stomping around, the sulking.

"His long term legacy is set, it's protected, he's one of the great all-time players, but in the short-term he's got to do a lot better because is the Juventus manager wrong?

"Is the Manchester United wrong and now is the Portugal manager wrong?"

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