Ronaldo will always be Portugal captain, says coach | Inquirer Sports
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Ronaldo will always be Portugal captain, says coach

/ 05:47 PM March 30, 2021
Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal

Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo holds his captain armband moments before he threw it to the ground and left the pitch at the end of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualification Group A football match between Serbia and Portugal at the Rajko Mitic Stadium, in Belgrade, on March 27, 2021. – Cristiano Ronaldo threw his captain’s armband to the ground in anger after being controversially denied an injury-time winner as Portugal blew a two-goal lead against Serbia in World Cup qualifying. (Photo by pedja milosavljevic / AFP)

Cristiano Ronaldo is in no danger of losing the Portugal captaincy over his outburst at the end of Saturday’s World Cup qualifier against Serbia, coach Fernando Santos said.

Ronaldo stormed off the pitch seconds before the final whistle and got booked for dissent after he was denied a stoppage-time goal in Saturday’s 2-2 draw.

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The 36-year-old was left fuming when his effort was cleared by Serbia defender Stefan Mitrovic after it had crossed the line. With no Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in place, Dutch referee Danny Makkelie waved play on and a livid Ronaldo threw away the captain’s armband as he headed towards the tunnel.

“Yes, he will keep the armband. Forever,” said Santos. “Cristiano is a national example.

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“If he had offended the manager, his teammates or the federation in a thoughtless attitude, then we would have to address the situation. But nothing like that happened.

“It was a moment of huge frustration. And we are talking about a player who is unbeatable when it comes to his eagerness to win.

“Nobody will say now that his reaction was beautiful, but there’s no point to discuss if Cristiano should remain the captain. That’s something I want to be very clear about.”

Referee Makkelie told Portuguese newspaper A Bola on Monday that he had apologized to Santos and the rest of the team for the mistake.

UEFA said Ronaldo’s goal would have stood if the soccer governing bodies of Serbia and Portugal had both agreed before the game to use goal-line technology.

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TAGS: Cristiano Ronaldo, Fernando Santos, Football, Portugal, Serbia, World Cup qualifier
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