‘Going to ‘F’ Croatia’: Canada coach’s epic speech; Ronaldo skips presser amid ugly exit — WC Daily
Cristiano Ronaldo skipped Portugal’s press conference ahead of the country’s opening World Cup match Thursday against Ghana following his shocking split from Manchester United on Tuesday.
Ronaldo’s teammate Bruno Fernandes — also of Manchester United — took the podium on Wednesday instead, along with Portugal manager Fernando Santos.
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Fernandes also addressed Ronaldo’s exit from the Premier League club.
“It was good for me while it lasted. Now Cristiano has taken a different decision for his career and his family and we have to respect that,” Fernandes said, per the Manchester Evening Standard.
“I haven’t discussed the topic with Cris. We’re all focused on the national team and the World Cup. I don’t feel uncomfortable. I don’t have to pick a side. It was a dream come true to play with Cristiano [at United] but nothing lasts forever.”
Team captains typically attend the media sessions alongside their managers, and given Ronaldo has been Portugal’s captain for more than a decade, the 37-year-old athlete was expected to attend.
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Ronaldo’s tenure with Manchester United had reached a breaking point in recent weeks, with the renowned forward criticising the club and its manager, Erik ten Hag, in a bombshell interview with Piers Morgan.
During the sit-down, Ronaldo — who returned to Manchester United in 2021 after playing for the club from 2003-09 — said he has “no respect” for ten Hag, whom he alleged was one of the multiple individuals who tried to force his ouster in the off-season.
Ronaldo also likened Manchester United to a “marketing club,” and accused the Glazer family, who owns the team, of caring more about what’s happening off the pitch than on it.
Manchester United thanked Ronaldo for his contributions on Tuesday.
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“The club thanks him for his immense contribution across two spells at Old Trafford, scoring 145 goals in 346 appearances, and wishes him and his family well for the future,” the statement read.
Ronaldo, who has since been linked to Chelsea, will not receive the $19.1 million he was due to earn on the remainder of his contract, the Daily Mail reported Tuesday.
As for the World Cup itself, Portugal hasn’t missed the global event ever since Ronaldo first joined the team in 2006.
That tournament was the furthest Ronaldo has made it in a World Cup, when Portugal lost in the semi-finals to France.
Four years ago, he and Portugal finished second in their group to Spain, before losing 2-1 to Uruguay in the Round of 16.
However, Ronaldo had one of his most memorable performances with a hat trick against Spain in Portugal’s opening game.
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CANADA COACH LIFTS LID ON ROUSING SPEECH AFTER DEFEAT
In the aftermath of their cruel 1-0 loss to Belgium, Canada head coach John Herdman revealed he implored his players to “F Croatia next” as they look to keep their World Cup knockout dream alive.
The Canadians were the better of the two sides in their first game at the World Cup in 36 years, peppering the Belgians with 22 shots in total.
But a Michy Batshuayi strike against the run of play and a Thibaut Courtois penalty save ensured the World No. 2 would take the spoils.
However, Morocco and Croatia’s scoreless draw means Canada are still in with a shout of making the Round of 16 at a minimum.
Herdman knew just as much as he looked to rev up his players in a rousing speech on the pitch after the game.
When quizzed about what he said to his troops, Herdman’s response was “simple”.
“I just told them they belong here,” Herdman said.
“And we’re going to go and ‘F’ Croatia next.
“It’s as simple as that.”
Morocco hold Croatia to scoreless draw | 00:34
DENMARK THREATEN TO LEAVE FIFA
Danish Football Association president Jesper Moller revealed a number of nations have discussed the bombshell prospect of leaving FIFA amid the controversy surrounding the ‘OneLove’ captain’s armband.
Moller also confirmed he would not give his vote for incumbent FIFA president Gianni Infantino to remain in his role at the next election.
At a press conference in Qatar, Moller stated there has been no concrete calls made just yet among a select number of nations as to whether they leave FIFA, but anticipates talks will reach a critical point soon.
“It is not a decision that has been made now,” Moller said.
“We have been clear about this for a long time. We have been discussing it in the Nordic region since August.
“I’ve thought it again. I imagine that there may be challenges if Denmark leaves on its own. But let us see if we cannot have a dialogue on things.
“I have to think about the question of how to restore confidence in FIFA.
“We must evaluate what has happened and then we must create a strategy - also with our Nordic colleagues.”
DARK HORSE SUFFERS DEVASTATING INJURY BLOW
Denmark midfielder Thomas Delaney is out of the World Cup after picking up a knee injury during his team’s opening goalless draw with Tunisia, the country’s FA announced on Wednesday.
“We’ll miss him, both on and off the pitch,” said coach Kasper Hjulmand in a statement.
“Our other players are ready and we have a strong squad for the coming matches.”
Delaney, who plays his club football with Sevilla in Spain, will miss Denmark’s remaining Group D fixtures against world champions France and Australia.
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SAUDI’S AL-SHAHRANI UNDERGOES SUCCESSFUL SURGERY AFTER SICKENING COLLISION
Saudi Arabia defender Yasser Al-Shahrani underwent successful surgery on his pancreas on Wednesday after a collision during his team’s shock World Cup win over Argentina, the national team said.
Medical examinations conducted in Doha revealed Al-Shahrani to be in a “stable condition” after “suffering a strong clash in the head, chest and abdomen”, said a statement posted on the team’s Twitter account.
He was then “transferred by medical evacuation to the National Guard Hospital in Riyadh” for the operation.
A follow-up statement on Wednesday night said the operation had been completed “with success”.
Al-Shahrani collided with Saudi goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Owais in stoppage time at the end of the match against Argentina, which ended in an upset 2-1 victory for the Green Falcons.
Al-Owais’s left knee connected squarely with Al-Shahrani’s face. “I would like to ensure you that I am OK, pray for me and congratulations on winning,” Al-Shahrani said in a video clip from his hospital bed posted on social media.
Saudi Arabia were propelled to victory by a stunning goal from Salem Al-Dawsari, bringing Argentina’s 36-match unbeaten run to a shuddering halt.
The Saudis’ next match is on Saturday against Poland.