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Cristiano Ronaldo has inadvertently torpedoed Portugal’s chances at the World Cup

When Cristiano Ronaldo first called Piers Morgan to suggest the idea of a sensational tell-all one-on-one interview, he must have been rubbing his hands with glee. At least, Ronaldo knows his own worth and the influence he holds over hundreds of millions of his supporters; in his mind, his revelations would surely help shift public opinion of him and turn the unforgiving spotlight on those who had ‘betrayed’ him.

Additionally, Ronaldo may have even thought that his words could topple manager Erik ten Hag and give him ultimate power again in the Old Trafford change room. Crucially, not for one second though, do you imagine that Ronaldo ever suspected that his bombshell interview with Morgan would backfire.

The best-laid plans…

But backfire it has, and spectacularly too. Indeed, the large majority of people who have seen the back and forth with Morgan come to the conclusion that the 37-year-old is in a state of denial where everyone else is to blame for his poor run of form in a Manchester United shirt whilst playing in the Premier League. The truth, which most people can identify, is that age is catching up with the great Ronaldo. Unsurprisingly, this is not a conclusion that the record-breaking attacker will entertain and was the main reason he shot from the hip for ninety minutes with Morgan teeing up the questions that were designed to cause the most controversial headlines thereafter.

It should be said that Ronaldo was successful in that regard, as all the football publications around the world have provided in-depth analyses of his astonishing claims about life at Old Trafford. What the 37-year-old didn’t consider, however, was the fallout it would cause in the Portuguese dressing room when you consider that Bruno Fernandes is one of the most revered players at the club. Put another way, life for Fernandes at Old Trafford is not the hardship that Ronaldo makes it out to be, which is why his words would not have gone down well with his international teammate.

Bruno’s cold shoulder speaks volumes

This was ultimately proved when Fernandes arrived at Portugal’s World Cup training camp and gave Ronaldo a frosty handshake before going on to warmly embrace other members of the squad.

Tellingly, it was a reception that left Ronaldo bemused and you can see as much in the video which has subsequently gone viral. All in all, this suggests that Ronaldo didn’t suspect his disparaging assertions about United would offend Fernandes which was a gross miscalculation given that the midfielder quite clearly takes a lot of pride in playing for the Red Devils. In fact, he is the club captain in all but in name after Ten Hag dropped Harry Maguire but stopped short of taking the armband off the English centre-back.

As you can see, this has now led to unresolved issues in Portugal’s change room that, crucially, weren’t there before Ronaldo decided to sit down to do this interview. In fact, you could say that the tense atmosphere in the Portuguese squad was totally avoidable, and with such a quick turnaround until the start of the Hisense World Cup, there may not be enough time to fix this strained dynamic that has needlessly arisen. In effect, the reality is that Ronaldo has accidentally torpedoed Portugal’s chances in Qatar. The latest World Cup betting does, to a large degree, back this theory up with Portugal, as of the 15th of November, at long odds of 14/1 to go all the way in the Middle East, proving once more that the collateral damage from Ronaldo’s interview was a lot more widespread than he initially imagined it would be.

Do other members of Portugal’s squad have a problem with Ronaldo?

In closing, it’s also worth focusing on another awkward exchange that was caught on camera during Portugal’s training session in the lead-up to the nation’s World Cup opener against Ghana. On this occasion, it was between Ronaldo and Joao Cancelo who appeared to take exception to Ronaldo manhandling him. Again, these snippets of footage point towards a changing room that is not at peace with itself, and at the centre of every incident appears to be one man, Ronaldo.

If the 37-year-old had his time again, perhaps he would do things differently given that the curtain is about to come down on his World Cup career, and after the interview he gave and the consequences that seem to be springing up everywhere, it looks for all money that it will be an underwhelming end in Qatar.

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