World Cup

According to Ancelotti, Ronaldo is a “outstanding player.”

After Cristiano Ronaldo was left off Portugal’s World Cup starting lineup, Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti defended the striker by emphasizing his professionalism while playing for the Spanish club.

The player with the most appearances and goals for Portugal came off the bench late in their 6-1 victory over Switzerland in the round of 16, having been benched after an outburst following his substitution against South Korea.

Ronaldo was coached by the Italian Ancelotti for two seasons at Real.

Ronaldo probably still feels in his 20s because he’s fine, he’s got the answers he’s looking for in his body,” Ancelotti told Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport. “The competition has become tough.

“I’ve coached him (Ronaldo) for two years and there were no problems. In fact he solved them for me. Cristiano trains well, he pays attention to detail, everything was easy for me to manage. He is an exceptional player.”

On Thursday, the Portuguese Football Federation refuted media reports that Ronaldo had threatened to quit the team during the World Cup if Fernando Santos benched him.

Ronaldo, who has not scored since converting a penalty in Portugal’s opening game against Ghana, issued a statement saying the squad were “a group too united to be broken by external forces”.

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