Cristiano Ronaldo is in no danger of losing the Portugal captaincy over his outburst at the end of Saturday’s World Cup Qualifier against Serbia, coach Fernando Santos has said.
Ronaldo stormed off the pitch seconds before the final whistle and got booked for dissent after he was denied a stoppage-time goal in Saturday’s 2-2 draw.
The 36-year-old was left fuming when his effort was cleared by Serbia defender Stefan Mitrovic after it had crossed the line.
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With no Video Assistant Referee (VAR) or goal-line technology in place, Dutch referee Danny Makkelie waved play on and a livid Ronaldo threw away the captain’s armband as he headed towards the tunnel.
“Yes, he will keep the armband. Forever,” said Santos. “Cristiano (Ronaldo) is a national example.
“If he had offended the manager, his team-mates or the federation in a thoughtless attitude, then we would have to address the situation. But nothing like that happened.
“It was a moment of huge frustration. And we are talking about a player who is unbeatable when it comes to his eagerness to win.
“Nobody will say now that his reaction was beautiful, but there’s no point to discuss if Cristiano should remain the captain. That’s something I want to be very clear about.”
Ronaldo later took to Instagram to vent his frustrations, posting: “I always give and will give everything for my country, that will never change.
“But there are difficult times to deal with, especially when we feel that an entire nation is being harmed.
“We will keep our heads up and face the next challenge now.”
Liverpool forward Diogo Jota’s double had put the visitors in control at the break, but second-half goals from Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic and Filip Kostic saw Serbia – who had Nikola Milenkovic sent off in stoppage time – hit back.
UEFA has subsequently said Ronaldo’s goal would have stood if both the governing bodies of Serbia and Portugal had agreed before the game to use goal-line technology.
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