Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo was filmed walking off the pitch at full-time as his teammates celebrated their thumping 6-1 win over Switzerland with fans.
Portugal manager Fernando Santos made the bold decision to drop former Manchester United star Ronaldo from the starting XI for their last-16 tie on Tuesday evening.
Goncalo Ramos, who stepped in as a replacement for Ronaldo, delivered a show-stealing performance with a sensational hat-trick at the Lusail Stadium.
The 21-year-old Benfica player opened the scoring for the 2016 Euro champions before adding two more to his name in the second half.
However, footage of the 37-year-old Portuguese forward ‘walking straight off’ the pitch while his Portugal teammates celebrated with fans quickly made the rounds on social media.
Since the initial footage was posted on social media, subsequent videos have been posted that show that Ronaldo did in fact clap the Portuguese fans. And it has created a divide among supporters as a result.
One Twitter user said in response to the footage: “If it’s not about him, he can’t handle it. Maybe Saudi [Arabia] isn’t the best option for him. There’s [sic] better players there than him.”
Another fan commented: “What a disgrace of a captain Ronaldo is! Can’t digest [the] fact that his team performed brilliantly while he was a spectator.”
While someone else posted: “So, he did it again.”
A fourth fan tweeted: “A bit disappointing. You’d expect more from a 37-year-old.”
Not everyone felt Ronaldo was in the wrong for leaving the pitch while his teammates celebrated, with his legion of fans flocking to social media to defend him.
“He literally stayed there celebrating and clapping and went inside ONE MINUTE before all of them. Shut up, idiot,” one furious fan said.
A second fan claimed: “I did see someone shake and hug as many teammates and opposing players before applauding the fans.”
And a third Twitter user added: “He walked over and clapped the crowd, the team were one minute behind him. Shut up.”
Goals from Ramos, Pepe, Raphael Guerreiro and Rafael Leao ensured a place for Portugal in the next round of the World Cup.
Santos’ men will now face Morocco, who caused a stunning upset against Spain on Tuesday, in the quarter-finals on Saturday at the Al-Thumama Stadium.
Featured Image Credit: Adriano Del Monte/Twitter
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