Ristiano Ronaldo remains an “idol” to many in the Portugal squad according to Goncalo Ramos, who enjoyed his first international start with two hands.
The build-up to the team’s latest clash against Switzerland in the round of 16 was dominated by rumors that Ronaldo could be dropped, a combination of his poor form and also his reaction to his substitution against South Korea who would be at hand. the origin of Fernando Santos’ desire to look elsewhere. .
It was confirmed when the team news came out, with Ronaldo named among the substitutes and in his place Ramos, 21, who played for a grand total of ten minutes in the group stage, in the lead.
Ramos produced a remarkable display, opening the scoring with a stunning strike before scoring two more after the break as he conjured up Qatar’s first World Cup hat-trick.
There was also an assist for good measure, as Portugal beat Switzerland 6-1 and set up a quarter-final clash against Morocco.
It certainly felt like the end of an era, with Ronaldo watching from the bench as a dynamic frontline tore Switzerland apart. The 37-year-old came on in the second half and had the ball in the net, only to be disallowed by the offside flag.
It remains to be seen which part Ronaldo, who is currently without a club following his acrimonious exit from Manchester United, will play in the rest of the tournament, but Ramos insisted the Portugal captain was still the player the team admired.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is our leader,” Ramos said after the game.
“He is my reference and an idol for many of us.”