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Cristiano Ronaldo

South Korea star Cho reveals what he said to Ronaldo during World Cup substitution spat

9:09 PM MYT 12/12/2022
Ronaldo reaction South Korea World Cup 2022
South Korea striker Cho Gue-sung has revealed what he said to Cristiano Ronaldo during the infamous substitution spat at the 2022 World Cup.
  • Portugal faced Korea in group stage
  • Legendary forward replaced in that game
  • Did not take kindly to being taken off

WHAT HAPPENED? The Koreans lined up against a star-studded Portugal side in their final group stage outing the World Cup in Qatar. A 2-1 win was ultimately enough to see them through to the last-16, but a decisive goal only arrived in stoppage-time after Cho had clashed with five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo as he slowly made his way from the field midway through the second half.

WHAT THEY SAID: Cho has told Yonhap’s ‘Saturday Wide’ programme of his heated exchange with an all-time great: “We were in a situation where we had to score one more goal against Portugal and Ronaldo was being substituted off. He was being slow so I walked up to him and said 'faster' in English to him. I wanted him to get off the pitch quicker. He wasn't happy. There were many people who thought what I did wasn't acceptable, but I wanted him off the pitch as quickly as possible because I was desperate to win.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Ronaldo was subsequently dropped by Portugal following his angry reaction to being replaced against South Korea, with the 37-year-old saying of his altercation with Cho: “The Korean player was telling me to leave quickly and I told him to shut up because he has no authority. There is no need for controversy. It's the heat of the match. Whatever happens, things always stay on the pitch.”

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT? South Korea went on to bow out of the tournament in the last 16 against Brazil, while Portugal – with Ronaldo restricted to bit-part role from the bench – suffered a shock defeat to Morocco in the quarter-finals.