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Portugal coach explains why Ronaldo was a substitute against Switzerland

Without Cristiano Ronaldo in the starting 11, Portugal made short work of Switzerland (6-1) on Thursday, in the round of 16. Fernando Santos explains himself.

You started the match without starting Cristiano Ronaldo. Why and has it paid off?
Fernando Santos (Portugal coach) : It was our goal to play with great fluidity. We had a very good match, well played in all aspects, whether it was circulation and possession of the ball, confidence in ourselves and in our team-mates. Our unit in training was reflected on the pitch. Sometimes it doesn’t work but today it worked. We will now prepare to face Morocco with great opportunities in four days. You have to be prepared to adopt the right strategy. About Cristiano, I have already spoken. These issues are resolved, they are in the past, they are put aside. He entered the field with a lot of determination. I think about this team as a collective.

But what are your relations with Cristiano Ronaldo?
I have a very close relationship with him. I have known him since he was 19 and we have developed a strong relationship. The human aspect has never been misinterpreted. I am a coach, he is a player, he knows what to do during the match. For me, he is a very important player in the selection.

What about Gonçalo Ramos, who revealed himself tonight by replacing Ronaldo at kick-off and scoring a hat-trick?
I saw him play many matches and I have my own view of things. In this position (centre-forward, editor’s note), we have three players with different characteristics (also with André Silva, editor’s note). Gonçalo is more dynamic, he studies the opportunities, he has a strong competitive spirit, that’s what I saw when watching him, especially in his first matches as a substitute. I have full confidence in these three players. For each match, I will use one of three depending on the opponent and the strategy.

Statements taken at a press conference.

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