Ronaldo ‘insulted’ by South Korea player

AL-RAYAN, Qatar – Cristiano Ronaldo was insulted by South Korea’s Cho Goo-sung as he left the pitch, according to Fernando Santos, as the Portugal coach sought to defend the striker’s frustrated reaction to being substituted.

Ronaldo appeared to verbally exchange with Cho as he walked towards the seats and then put his finger to his mouth.

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The 37-year-old looked unhappy with the decision to send him back in the 65th minute, but after the 2-1 defeat sent South Korea into the last 16, Santos insists it was his interaction with Cho that made the former Manchester United. Forward “furious”.

“The Korean player was insulting him and telling him to leave, that’s why he was angry, and everyone saw it,” said Santos.

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“I saw the interaction with the Korea player and I have no doubt about that and if you see the pictures you see Pepe go to the Korean player.

“He wasn’t aggressive, he was just verbally aggressive, and he was speaking in English to Cristiano, and Cristiano said, ‘Maybe he’s having a bad day.'”

Ronaldo told Portuguese reporters that Cho was trying to push him off the pitch.

“What happened was before I was substituted, the South Korean player asked me to come down quickly. I told him to shut up because he doesn’t have that power. There was no disagreement.” [with the coach]Ronaldo was quoted as saying.

South Korean midfielder Hwang In-beom didn’t have much to say about the incident.

“I didn’t see it,” he said, “I was so tired.” “I was looking at the ground, so I didn’t see it and I had nothing to say.”

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Portugal finished top of Group H despite conceding a 91st-minute winner against Hwang Hee-chan which saw South Korea beat Uruguay for a place in the knockout rounds.

Santos are preparing to face the second-placed team from Group H – possibly Switzerland, Serbia or Cameroon – but insisted the defeat to South Korea should act as a “warning in” for his side.

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“We are somewhat upset,” Santos added.

“We are in first place in the group, but we wanted to win and have a better game to boost the morale of the players. But this result is a warning for our team.”

Meanwhile, South Korea is preparing to face Brazil after qualifying for the second round for the first time since 2010.

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They cruised until Hwang’s dramatic victory saw them through by scoring ahead of Uruguay, who were knocked out of the World Cup despite beating Ghana 2-0.

“Before the match, Son Heung-min told me I would make something today,” said Hwang.

He said: We trust you. When I went on as a substitute a lot of my team mates said they trusted me and when Son got the ball I was convinced he would pass it to me and it was an excellent pass, which made my job easy.

“It was difficult to wait for the other result but we proved we can reach the knockout stage and kept that faith. This is something we wanted and expected. I want to share these great feelings with the Korean people back home.”

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