Joao Felix admits he was ‘surprised’ when Cristiano Ronaldo was dropped to the bench by Portugal during the World Cup… but he insists the legendary striker reacted really well and ‘looked to give the team confidence’
Joao Felix admitted he was ‘surprised’ to see Cristiano Ronaldo dropped to the bench during Portugal’s World Cup campaign, but said the 38-year-old refused to sulk around the dressing room.
Felix – who moved to Chelsea on a £9m loan deal in January from Atletico Madrid – was a team-mate of Ronaldo during the World Cup before Portugal crashed out in a shock exit to Morocco at the quarter-final stage.
After Fernando Santos’s side topped their group which involved Ghana, Uruguay and South Korea, they faced Switzerland in a last-16 tie.
However, after struggling for form and only scoring one goal – a penalty against Ghana – Ronaldo was dropped for the clash and replaced by 21-year-old forward Goncalo Ramos.
This caused huge shockwaves at the time, with many criticising Ronaldo for his subsequent actions while looking glum on the bench.
Joao Felix (L) admitted he was surprised Cristiano Ronaldo (R) was dropped during the World Cup, but insisted the Portugal legend reacted ‘really well’ and supported his team-mates
Felix impressed for Portgual in Qatar before he moved to Chelsea for a £9m loan fee last month
Ramos went onto score a hat-trick but Felix revealed how the 38-year-old – who came off the bench in both the Switzerland and Morocco games – was an exceptional support in the dressing room, despite his personal disappointment at being left out.
‘We were surprised, because seeing Cristiano on the bench is not something you’re used to,’ he told Spanish outlet AS.
‘But it was the gaffer’s decision – he’s the one who calls the shots. Cristiano reacted really well, because we were all pulling in the same direction and creating positive vibes.
‘His reaction was really good for the rest of us, because he looked to give the team confidence and make it clear that we were all in this together.
‘It was really good for us and he just kept on being a real help in every way.’
Felix also backed Ronaldo’s decision to move to Saudi Arabia to join Pro League side Al-Nassr
Felix also commented on Ronaldo’s eye-watering £175m-a-year move to Saudi Arabia side Al-Nassr which has again been criticised as an example by some of the legendary Portugal striker no longer being at an elite level.
However, the Chelsea loanee didn’t agree – and insisted Ronaldo had achieved all he could in Europe.
He added: ‘No [I’m not surprised by the move], because there was nothing left for him to win in Europe.
‘He’s written his name into the history books and now he’s going to write his name into the history books in Saudi Arabia. I wish him all the best.’