Cristiano Ronaldo was on the bench against Switzerland in the Round of 16

Cristiano Ronaldo will not start in the last 16 match against Switzerland on Tuesday. This follows recent reports that Portuguese coach Fernando Santos was unhappy with Ronaldo’s gestures after he was knocked out in their final group stage match against South Korea. Pepe will be captain tonight.

The 37-year-old striker opened the tournament with a goal against Ghana to become the first player to score in five different World Cups. But he was ineffective in Portugal’s last two group matches and was withdrawn midway through the second half after a 2–1 defeat to South Korea.

In the defeat to Korea, Ronaldo was withdrawn midway through the second half. When he went out, he had put an index finger to his lips and later said he was annoyed by the opposing striker Cho Gue-sung for asking him to hasten his exit.

“What happened was before my substitution, the South Korean player told me to stop quickly. I told him to shut up because he doesn’t have that authority. There was no disagreement (with the coach),” Ronaldo said to Portuguese reporters.

“Yes, I didn’t like it, not at all. I really didn’t like it and from then on that matter is over,” Santos had said on Monday when asked about his comments on the situation at a pre-match press conference.

The coach had also declined to comment on speculation at home about whether Ronaldo would play in his line-up against the Swiss on Tuesday, start on the bench or become captain.

“I won’t decide who will be captain until I reach the stadium,” said Santos. “I still don’t know what the line-up will be. That’s what I’ve always done and that’s what I always will do and tomorrow it will be the same. The other issue has been resolved. We solved that in-house and that’s it.”

With Ronaldo, Portugal has reached the round of 16 of the World Cup in four of his five tournaments, but he has never played in a World Cup final. Portugal lost to France in the 2006 semi-final – the deepest Ronaldo has ever reached at the World Cup.

Although he has scored in five tournaments, he has only scored eight goals in twenty World Cup appearances in total. His 118 goals in international play is a world record for men, but Ronaldo has never scored in the knockout stages of the World Cup.

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