Ene of the major discussions that took place in the first phase of this tournament revolved around a question that all CR7 worshipers, and presumably the leader of this cult as well, must have found a vile form of blasphemy.
Is it actually conceivable that the national team of Portugal is better without Cristiano Ronaldo than with the now 37-year-old world star on the pitch? Some fans hoped that Ronaldo himself would provide the answer, in the form of many goals.
But it was the teammates who provided clarity in the unleashed 6-1 victory for the Portuguese in the round of 16 over Switzerland: Yes, Portugal are currently playing more maturely, dominantly and confidently when Ronaldo is sitting on the bench and the audience only sees overlays on the video screens makes to squeal.
Goncalo Ramos took the place of the striker without a club and involved in all sorts of disputes, and he became the dominant figure of the game with three goals, one assist and a number of other good actions.
After 17 minutes, Ramos scored the 1-0 with a dry shot from eight meters into the short angle, in the 23rd minute Yann Sommer had to save another shot from the attacker from Benfica Lisbon in the Swiss goal (23rd), before Ramos shortly had his third good chance before the break.
After Pepe had headed in a corner to make it 2-0 (33′), Ramos destroyed the Swiss’ last hopes after 51 minutes by poking a cross pass from Diogo Dalot through Sommer’s legs from close range to make it 3-0.
Ronaldo had not radiated as much energy and danger as Ramos in the 73 minutes before his substitution in any second of the tournament so far. However, Ramos played against Swiss, who didn’t find their way into this game at all. Granit Xhaka was constantly chasing in midfield, strikers Xherdan Shaqiri and Breel Embolo received few passes, there was no pressure on the wings and horrific mistakes were made on defence.
Ronaldo cheers on the bench
Fabian Schär had already defended badly at Ramos’ 1-0 before he was partly to blame again at 2-0. They couldn’t manage more than a goal from Manuel Akanji after a corner kick (58th), when everything was already lost.
Even before that, the Confederates had exposed their entire right-hand side of defense at 0: 4, Borussia Dortmund’s Raphael Guerreiro used the space for his first goal of the tournament (51st), the template provider: Ramos. Ronaldo watched it all from the bench, celebrated with his colleague about Ramos’ 5:1 (67th) and maybe he also thought a little about his behavior.
His transfer to the bench was probably also a reaction to his alleged complaint after being substituted in the game against South Korea. Coach Fernando Santos said he “didn’t like it at all” and avoided any further comments. Everything else will be “clarified internally”. Now the consequence was clear.
It wasn’t until the 73rd minute that Ronaldo was sent into play after the crowd kept calling his name. But the only goal at this stage with CR7 on the pitch was scored by Rafael Leao (90+2). The aging professional even seems to have lost the backing of the Portuguese at home.
In a survey by the newspaper “La Bola”, 70 percent of the participants agreed that Ronaldo should no longer be fielded. With this game, the Portuguese have actually ignored all the Ronaldo anger that lies like a dark shadow over the World Cup project and are suddenly in the middle of a wonderful tournament. Ronaldo’s World Cup epic will continue for at least another game, but he’s unlikely to play a major role again.