'Ronaldo solved my problems' - Under-fire Portugal captain is 'very easy to coach', insists Real Madrid boss Ancelotti

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Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal 2022
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Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has defended under-fire Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo and says he never had any problems with the superstar.
  • Ronaldo leaves Man Utd
  • Benched by Portugal
  • Ancelotti defends forward

WHAT HAPPENED? Ancelotti has leapt to the defence of Ronaldo, who is in the midst of a turbulent season. The forward has left Manchester United on the back of an explosive interview where he criticised the club and manager Erik ten Hag. The superstar has also had problems at the World Cup. Ronaldo was benched against Switzerland, with manager Fernando Santos admitting he did not like his reaction to being substituted against South Korea, and had to watch his replacement Goncalo Ramos bag a hat-trick in a 6-1 win.

WHAT THEY SAID: "What’s the problem? I don’t know, perhaps he still feels like he is 20 years old because he feels well. He’s been taking care of his body for his entire career but the competition is stiffer now," Ancelotti, who coached Ronaldo in his first spell in charge at Madrid, has told the Corriere Dello Sport. "I managed him for two years and never had problems. On the contrary, he solved my problems. He scores a goal per game, how can you consider him a problem? He trains well, he takes care of every detail. To me, it was very easy to coach him. He is an exceptional player."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Ronaldo's future remains uncertain, with the 37-year-old denying reports he has already agreed a mega-deal with Saudi Arabia side Al-Nassr. There's also no guarantee Ronaldo will start Portugal's quarter-final clash against Morocco on Saturday, particularly after Ramos' heroics last time out.

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Ronaldo Ancelotti Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo World Cup 2022

Fernando Santos World Cup 2022

DID YOU KNOW? Ronaldo wasn’t named in Portugal's starting XI for a game at a major tournament for the first time since 2008 (also against Switzerland), ending a 31-game streak in which he had been a starter at major tournaments for his country.

WHAT NEXT FOR RONALDO? Santos has a big call to make regarding whether to recall Ronaldo against Morocco. A victory for Portugal would set up a semi-final against England or France.