soap opera | 

Cristiano Ronaldo’s girlfriend with a message for Portugal coach Fernando Santos

Georgina Rodriguez has offered up an Instagram post suggesting it was ‘a shame’ for supporters that her partner was dropped.

Cristiano Ronaldo's girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez in the stands before the FIFA World Cup. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.© PA

Kevin PalmerSunday World

The soap opera surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo shows no sign of losing its headline grabbing appeal and now his girlfriend has got in on the story.

Georgina Rodriguez has offered up an Instagram post suggesting it was ‘a shame’ for supporters that her partner was bench for the last-16 game against Switzerland.

She also referred to Portugal coach Fernando Santos as ‘your dear friend’, in a comment many observers have viewed as being more than a little sarcastic.

Ronaldo’s sister had already posted after the game to say Portugal manager Santos ‘humiliated’ her brother by dropping him and now Georgina has offered up a defence.

“What a shame not to have been able to enjoy the best player in the world during the 90 minutes,” she wrote.

"The fans have not stopped claiming you and shouting your name.

“I hope that God and your dear friend Fernando continue hand in hand and make us enjoy one more night.”

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Meanwhile, Portugal boss Santos revealed he had a “frank conversation” with Cristiano Ronaldo to explain why he was dropping him, but insisted the veteran forward did not threaten to leave the World Cup.

Reports in Portugal claim Ronaldo was ready to walk out on his country after learning he would be on the bench for the last-16 clash with Switzerland.

The 37-year-old came on in the closing stages as Portugal booked their place in the quarter-finals with a 6-1 win.

Santos revealed he told Ronaldo he would not be starting on the day of the game, and admitted international football’s record goalscorer took some convincing.

Santos said: “We did have a conversation and it would have been very bad if we did not have that conversation.

“Since I took the helm we needed to talk and have a close relationship with the players, that’s my approach.

“He’s the captain of our squad and with what he represents for Portuguese football, for the Portuguese people and the national team, naturally I needed to talk to him.

“So when we had this conversation it was on match day, after lunch. The only conversation was on that day and I explained why he would not play.

“We met and I explained why he would not be one of the starters, so he would not be surprised.

“In my office, I told him in terms of strategy it is better if you don’t play, I would save him for the second half if need be.

“Cristiano, for obvious reasons, was not very happy about it. He has always been a starting player.

“He said ‘do you really think it’s a good idea?’ But we had a normal conversation. I explained my viewpoints, he accepted. We had a frank and normal conversation.

“He has never told me he wanted to leave our national team. I think it’s high time we stopped with this conversation and these polemics, because an example of what I just said is what he did during the match.

“He was warming up with the players even though wasn’t starting. He celebrated all our goals. And at the end he was the one who invited his colleagues to thank the fans.

“It’s high time to leave it alone.”

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