Former Manchester United full-back Gary Neville slammed Cristiano Ronaldo for his petulance behaviour after he was dropped from Portugal’s starting line-up for the round of 16 match against Switzerland. Portugal manager Fernando Santos admitted before South Korea clash that he was not impressed with Ronaldo’s antics when he was subbed off during the South Korea clash in group stage. Ronaldo was miffed with the manager’s decision when he was benched in the second half.
Meanwhile, the 2016 Euro champions put Ronaldo on the bench in the crucial round of 16 clash to make way for young Goncalo Ramos who netted a hat-trick on his first start in a senior team jersey to announce his arrival at the biggest stage.
Neville criticised Ronaldo for his recent on-field antics which was also one of the reasons behind his exit from Manchester United in an unpleasant manner.
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“Well when it happened at United the suggestion was that Ten Hag was trying to make a move on him, establish his authority. This is a manager who has got an unbelievable relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo for eight years and there are a lot of fans of Ronaldo who are not willing to tell him the truth," Neville said on ITV.
Neville, who played alongside Ronaldo at Manchester United in the past, suggested that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner has to stop his petulant behaviour.
“I think he does need to listen to the truth that it is becoming a little bit of a scruffy end. It would not surprise that he comes on tonight and scores the winner but the petulance, the stomping around, the sulking, it’s got to stop because it does not reflect well on him at all," he added.
Ronaldo is regarded as one of the greatest to play the game and the ongoing World Cup might be the last swansong in the Portugal jersey. Neville suggested that the legendary forward has to do better in the final stage of his career as he faced the same problem at Juventus and Manchester United.
“His long-term legacy is set, he is one of the great all-time players. But in the short-term he has got to do a lot better because is the Juventus manager wrong? Is the Manchester United manager wrong? And now is the Portugal manager wrong? There are three of them that have done the same thing with him," he added.
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Neville, who turned a football pundit after hanging his boots, advised the 37-year-old to think about the collective effort of the team as singlemindedness is pulling him down at the moment in his career.
“Ronaldo’s singlemindedness over the years has been one of his great strengths. His determination to be the best in the world, score the most goals, break all the records, the fight with [Lionel] Messi. But there comes a point where you’ve got to think about the collective, and that is your team-mates in the dressing room,” said Neville.
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