Portugal have made it through to the World Cup quarter-finals scoring 12 goals in four games, but you would not know it from the news cycle.
Their progress has been dominated by the constant stream of reports surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo. Taken off against South Korea, Ronaldo was supposedly seen saying ‘You couldn’t wait to get me off’ on the bench, which was later said to be directed at the referee rather than coach Fernando Santos.
However against Switzerland in the Round of 16, Ronaldo started the match on the bench, only coming on in the final minutes. The following day, he was seen training with the starters, doing a lighter session, rather than with the substitutes, for no apparent reason.
Portuguese paper Record (via Marca) say that Ronaldo threatened to leave the Portugal camp upon learning that he was on the bench against the Swiss. That report has since been denied by the Portuguese Federation in an official statement.
There is no evidence for either side, but there is also no smoke without fire. Regardless of if this latest report is accurate, it is clear there is a rift between Santos and Ronaldo. As Portugal prepare for the match against Morocco, once again the focus is on Ronaldo not the team.