Ronaldo ‘insulted’ by South Korea player

AL RAYYAN, Qatar – Cristiano Ronaldo was “insulted” by South Korea player Cho Gue-sung as he left the pitch, according to Fernando Santos, as the Portugal coach sought to defend the striker’s frustrated reaction to being substituted.

Ronaldo appeared to have a verbal exchange with Cho as he walked towards the benches and then put his finger to his mouth.

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The 37-year-old looked unhappy at the decision to bring him off in the 65th minute but after the 2-1 defeat that sent South Korea into the last 16, Santos insisted it was his interaction with Cho that made the former Manchester United. Forward “bores”.

“The player from Korea insulted him and told him to leave, that’s why he was angry, everyone saw it,” said Santos.

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“I saw the interaction with the Korea player and I have no doubt about it and if you see the pictures you see, Pepe went to the Korea player.

“He wasn’t aggressive, he was only verbally aggressive. He spoke in English to Cristiano, and Cristiano said, ‘Maybe he’s having a bad day’.”

Ronaldo told Portuguese reporters that Cho was trying to rush him off the field.

“What happened was before my substitution, the South Korea player told me to get off quickly. I told him to keep quiet because he did not have the authority. There is no dispute [with the coach]Ronaldo said.

South Korean midfielder Hwang In-Beom had little to say about the incident.

“I didn’t see it, I was too tired,” he said. “I looked at the ground, I didn’t see it and I don’t have anything to say.”

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Portugal still finished top of Group H despite Hwang Hee-chan’s 91st-minute winner, which saw South Korea defy Uruguay for a place in the knockout rounds.

Santos’ team are set to face Group H’s second-place team – likely Switzerland, Serbia or Cameroon – but he insisted the defeat to South Korea should serve as a “warning” to his team.

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“We are somewhat upset,” Santos added.

“We are first in the group, but we wanted to win and have a better game to increase the morale of the players. But this result serves as a warning to our team.”

Meanwhile, South Korea is set to face Brazil after qualifying for the second round for the first time since 2010.

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They went on to Hwang’s dramatic winner which saw them level on goals ahead of Uruguay, who exit the World Cup despite beating Ghana 2-0.

“Before the match, Son Heung-min told me that I will do something today,” said Hwang.

– He said: We trust you. When I went on as a substitute a lot of team mates also said they trusted me. When Son got the ball I was convinced he would pass to me and it was an excellent pass. It made my job easy.

“It was difficult waiting for the other result but we proved we can make it to the knockout phase and we keep the confidence. This is something we wanted and we expected. I want to share the great feelings with the Korean people at home. “


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