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Portugal denies Ronaldo reported World Cup walkout threat

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Round of 16 - Portugal v Switzerland - Lusail Stadium, Lusail, Qatar - December 6, 2022 Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo leaves the pitch after the match as Portugal progress to the quarter finals

FILE PHOTO:  December 6, 2022 Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo leaves the pitch after the match as Portugal progress to the quarter-finals in the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022. REUTERS/Paul Childs

The Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) on Thursday denied Cristiano Ronaldo threatened to abandon the World Cup squad after being benched against Switzerland.

The 37-year-old striker was surprisingly dropped for the last 16 clash on Tuesday, with his replacement Goncalo Ramos netting a hat-trick in the 6-1 victory.

Ronaldo appeared from the bench, but a report from Portuguese publication Record said the striker had previously threatened to leave in a tense conversation with coach Fernando Santos.

“The FPF clarifies that at no time did the captain of the Selecao, Cristiano Ronaldo, threaten to leave the national team during the stay in Qatar,” said the federation.

“Every day Ronaldo is building up a unique track record at the service of the national team and the country, which must be respected.”

The FPF said Ronaldo’s appearance against Switzerland was a further demonstration of his commitment to the cause.

Ronaldo is the most-capped Portuguese player and the top men’s international goalscorer of all time.

Portugal face Morocco on Saturday in the quarter-finals, where Ramos may again get the nod over Ronaldo.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner did not train with the other substitutes on Wednesday after the game, instead taking part in a gym session alongside the starters against Switzerland.

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