Former Portugal coach Fernando Santos confirmed that Cristiano Ronaldo never spoke to him after the team's participation in the 2022 World Cup, noting that the decision to exclude him twice from the starting line-up at the time was for "strategic reasons".
Santos brought on young striker Gonçalo Ramos in place of Ronaldo in the Switzerland match, where he scored a hat-trick and led the team to a historic 6-1 victory, and then repeated it in the Morocco match, but Portugal bid farewell to the competition after losing 1-0.
Cristiano Ronaldo's sister, Katia Aveo, attacked Santos a lot after World Cup and considered him the cause of the destruction of her brother's dream of winning the World Cup.
For the first time, Santos came out and spoke about his dispute with the Dons, telling the newspaper Abola "It was the most appropriate decision for the whole group, Ronaldo was suffering at Manchester United and in his personal life after the death of his little boy."
"There is no doubt that Ronaldo is the best player in the world, but my decision to serve the system was a strategic decision after consulting with my technical staff, Ronaldo lacked the necessary physical coordination due to his few appearances with Manchester United at the time."
"I love Ronaldo and he is like my son, we have had a strong relationship since I met him when he was 18 years old at Sporting Lisbon, but my decisions I make away from emotion, maybe he would have started if we managed to beat Morocco, but unfortunately we didn't."
"There has been no communication between us since we returned from Qatar."
It is noteworthy that Santos, 69, was sacked from coaching Portugal after the World Cup after an 8-year career during which he won the Euro 2016 title, and was succeeded in his post by Spaniard Roberto Martinez.
Santos then briefly coached Poland in 2023, but was sacked after only 6 matches, winning 3 and losing 3 others.