Fernando Santos explains reasons behind Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal omission

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Portugal boss Fernando Santos has revealed why Cristiano Ronaldo did not start on Thursday night.

Santos’ men played out a 1-1 draw with Spain in the Nations League on Thursday, with Horta cancelling out Alvaro Morata’s effort late in the second half.

But it was curious to see captain Ronaldo sat on the bench for what was seen as a big game between two Iberian rivals.

The Manchester United star is reaching the latter years of his career, but he is still expected to start games like this one.

And after the game, Santos was grilled over his decision to leave one of – if not the – most talented players in his squad on the bench.

“Cristiano Ronaldo? I’m often asked why he’s a starter,” he said, as cited by Mundo Deportivo. “It’s the million dollar question.

“I understood that for this game it was better to use the players I used.”

“It was a technical and tactical option for this match. It seemed to us the best solution.

“For the way we wanted to play and plan the match. It has nothing to do with Cristiano’s quality, that’s not even questioned.”

Ronaldo has come in for criticism for some of his performances this summer, but he still managed to score 18 goals in a struggling United side.

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We are getting to the stage where even Ronaldo is going to have to play less, as his influence reduces, but it is interesting to see him left out for Portugal.

Portugal have relied heavily upon Ronaldo, especially under Santos defensive style, but they now look to be ready to build for life after their superstar.

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