Sulking was nowhere to be found on the front papers of Portugal’s newspapers on Wednesday as the press toasted ‘the day the team gave itself to youth’.
Led by 21-year-old Goncalo Ramos, a surprise inclusion by boss Fernando Santos, at the expense of Ronaldo, Portugal thumped Switzerland 6-1 to book a FIFA World Cup quarter-final against Morocco.
Ramos, the hat-trick hero, dominated Wednesday’s front pages, whereas the team’s biggest star – Ronaldo – was ignored after being relegated to the bench.
Portuguese newspaper front pages on Wednesday toasted the brilliance of Goncalo Ramos
Portuguese media focus on Ramos and Portugal’s new generation as they eye World Cup glory
Publicó claimed that turning to Ramos was ‘the day Portugal decided to give itself to youth’
The front page of Record ran with the headline ‘Ramos makes history’ after his first-ever hat-trick for Portugal, in what was only his second start for his country.
A Bola hailed their new superstar, who now has more goals in Qatar than Ronaldo managed across three group games, as a ‘demolisher’ following his destructive display against the Swiss.
O Jogo toasted ‘a collective display from another world’ with a team celebration as their front cover image – again, with top story Ronaldo overlooked.
Cristiano Ronaldo (middle) was brought on as a 74th-minute substitute with Portugal 5-1 up
The former Manchester United star walked straight past the media and film crews at the end
Publicó also gave a nod to the next generation of Portuguese stars by suggesting strong management from Santos in benching Ronaldo was ‘the day Portugal gave itself to youth’.
Tuesday night’s match was the first time Ronaldo, now 37, has not started a game at a major tournament since the 2008 European Championships.
Ronaldo did eventually appear, coming on as a 74th-minute substitute, before trudging off the pitch alone at the end while his team celebrated.
The question now is – what next for Ronaldo?Given such a dominant display, is his role in this World Cup bid now resigned to a spot on the bench?
‘That is still something that has to be defined,’ Santos said when asked about Ronaldo’s role.
‘I have a very close relationship with him – I always have, I have known him since he was 19 years old.
Ronaldo (left) looked grumpy and frustrated given he was not starting for Portugal at a major tournament for the first time since the 2008 European Championships
Santos said there was no problems between him or Ronaldo after dropping him v Switzerland
‘This relationship only develops, Ronaldo and I never interpret the human aspect of that of manager and player (in relation to) what we have to do during the match.
‘I will always consider in my role that he is an important player to have in the team.’
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The manager was bullish, however, when asked about the possibility of Ronaldo being reinserted into the line-up to face Morocco in the quarter-finals.
‘Ronaldo will definitely (be involved), all the players on the bench can be used, if they are not in the starting line-up they can play later,’ he said.
‘It is important to look at the example of this player’s history, he is one of the best players in the world at playing professionally, being captain – all we have to do is think about this team collectively.’
While the Portuguese media were quick to gloss over Ronaldo’s resignation in favour of Guedes, the 37-year-old’s sister .
She hit out at the Portuguese manager, claiming that he was ‘humiliating’ her brother, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, adding she did not know why Santos had left him out of his starting XI.
Ronaldo’s sister Elma Aveiro congratulated Portugal on the victory before continuing her criticism of Santos’ decision to bench her 37-year-old brother in their first knockout match