Portugal Boss Fernando Santos Explains Decision to Start Ronaldo on the Bench Against Andorra

Portugal manager Fernando Santos has opened up on his decision to start Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench against Andorra on Saturday.

The Euro 16 champions bagged a 2-0 victory on the day, but only after Ronaldo came on to open the scoring with what was his 15th goal of his nation’s World Cup qualifying run.

Andorra v Portugal - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier

The 32-year-old was also a booking away from missing Portugal’s last group match which comes against Switzerland on Tuesday.

And speaking to RTP (H/T ​Goal), Santos explained the thinking behind his opting to leave the forward out of the starting lineup. 

“I thought a lot. I thought, well, Ronaldo did not train 100 per cent in two of the days of work,” the coach insisted.


“There were many factors that led to this decision. Games are complicated, I tried to manage and do what was best.

“Whether it was questionable or not… we ended up winning and that’s what matters.”

Ronaldo struck to give Portugal the lead in the 63rd minute of the match, then handed Andre Silva the assist for the second goal with a cross four minutes from time.

“We knew it was going to be difficult and it was notable the team had difficulties adapting to the pitch, and then with their defence very close, [we were] lacking momentum,” Santos added.

“I had to put Ronaldo on the field, another forward and everything improved. There was a period of adaptation, but from a certain moment we created situations. We ended up winning as well, as we wanted.

“We also had the goal of not taking cards and ending up without injuries. In the first half, we lacked momentum. They wanted it, but it was not easy because the ball was difficult to control.”

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