• Portugal thrashed Switzerland 6-1 in the Round of 16
  • Goncalo Ramos scored a hat-trick
  • Ramos replaced Ronaldo in Portugal's starting XI

Portugal head coach Fernando Santos has revealed why he did not start Cristiano Ronaldo in their 6-1 victory over Switzerland in FIFA World Cup 2022.

Santos earlier admitted he was upset with Ronaldo's behavior during their 2-1 loss to South Korea and said he had not decided if Ronaldo would lead Portugal in their Round of 16 game.

This is the first time since 2008 that Ronaldo has not started for Portugal at a major tournament, ending an incredible 31-game streak.

Nevertheless, Santos said Tuesday that his decision to drop Ronaldo from his starting XI was purely tactical.

"I already explained it (the situation surrounding Ronaldo being dropped), I won't explain it again. They are different players. It was game strategy, all the players are different, I also launched Dalot, Raphael, and however Cancelo is also a fabulous player. It was what I thought that we would need for this match against Switzerland," Santos told reporters after Portugal's 6-1 win.

Speaking further about Ronaldo's situation, Santos made it clear that his relationship with the five-time Ballon d'Or winner is good and the 37-year-old forward has "set a great example of a great captain."

"There is no problem between Fernando Santos and the captain of the national team (Ronaldo), we've been friends for many years. Players make decisions. Things don't affect us. I already explained, that part was completely resolved and he set a great example of a great captain," added Santos.

The Portuguese boss included 21-year-old Goncalo Ramos ahead of Ronaldo in his starting XI against Switzerland at Lusail Stadium on Tuesday. The young Benfica forward took full advantage of his first start in a World Cup match and recorded the maiden hat-trick of the campaign.

While Ramos became the first player to score a hat-trick on his first World Cup start since Miroslav Klose for Germany in 2002, he was also the second youngest man to score a hat-trick in a World Cup knockout game after Pele in 1958.

In a post-match interview, Ramos expressed his admiration for Ronaldo, saying the former Manchester United forward has always been his role model.

"Honestly no one in the team talked about it. Cristiano, as captain, did what he does, he helped, he talked to us, not only to myself but to my teammates. Cristiano Ronaldo has always been a role model, he is an idol for many. I also like (Robert) Lewandowski and (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic," added Ramos.

Cristiano Ronaldo is the all-time top scorer in international football
Cristiano Ronaldo is the all-time top scorer in international football AFP / MIGUEL RIOPA

Portugal's next match is their World Cup quarter-final against Morocco on Saturday.