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Ronaldo replacement Goncalo Ramos gives firm statement on Portugal captain after his World Cup hat-trick heroics

2:32 PM IST 07/12/22
Goncalo Ramos Portugal 2022
Goncalo Ramos reacted to replacing Cristiano Ronaldo in Portugal's starting XI after scoring a superb World Cup hat-trick against Switzerland.

WHAT HAPPENED? Ramos came into Fernando Santos' line-up in place of Ronaldo to take on Switzerland in Tuesday's last-16 clash, scoring the first hat-trick of the 2022World Cup as Portugal sailed through to the quarter-finals with a thumping 6-1 victory. However, the 21-year-old refused to entertain the idea that the same feat would happen in the next round, instead pointing towards Ronaldo's leadership qualities and how much he has been inspired by the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

WHAT THEY SAID: "Not even in my best dreams did I think I would be in the starting XI for the knockout phases," Ramos said post-match. "Regarding my expectations, we just need to take it one match at a time. Now we prepare for Morocco without thinking of any other games. Cristiano Ronaldo is our leader. He’s the captain, he’s the leader and we always look forward to playing side by side with him. He is my reference and an idol to many of us. Cristiano Ronaldo, [Robert] Lewandowski, [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic – those players are my role models."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: While all the headlines before the match were on Ronaldo's omission from the starting XI, Ramos' performance on the night meant talk soon turned to the in-form Benfica striker. After scoring what were his first goals for his country, Ramos has given Fernando Santos a selection headache for the quarter-finals, although it seems unlikely that he will miss out after Tuesday's display.

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DID YOU KNOW? Ramos is the first player to score a hat-trick on his first World Cup start since Miroslav Klose for Germany in 2002.

WHAT NEXT FOR RAMOS? Despite playing down ideas that he will be selected, Ramos will be hoping to feature when Portugal take on Morocco in the quarter-finals on Saturday.