Ex-South Korea coach Paulo Bento makes bold claim on Cristiano Ronaldo controversy involving Korean player at 2022 FIFA World Cup

Former South Korea coach Paulo Bento has opened up on Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo’s heated moment with his player Cho Gue-sung during the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Cristiano Ronaldo went into the 2022 FIFA World Cup with a point to prove after having his contract with Manchester United terminated. He began the tournament on a positive note, scoring in Portugal’s 3-2 win against Ghana in the opener.

However, the 37-year-old was then relegated to the bench for Selecao‘s knockout matches before being eliminated. Fernando Santos notably dropped him after he reacted angrily to being substituted in the team’s final group-stage game against South Korea.

Addressing the incident after the match, Santos claimed that Ronaldo was responding to South Korea’s Gue-sung for allegedly insulting him. However, there have also been suggestions that the forward was expressing his frustration at the Portugal coach himself for taking him off.

Bento, who was South Korea’s coach at the World Cup, has now suggested that there was no provocation from Gue-sung. He went on to claim that his player was used to cover up the tensions between Ronaldo and Santos. He told Portuguese sports daily Record [via SAPO Desporto]:

“On the bench, in relation to my player, I didn’t notice anything at all. I know I said something to him [Cristiano Ronaldo] when he left, but everything that was done around that, the South Korean player was somehow used to conceal other things and that is not pleasant.”

“I have nothing to do with what happened, but it is not honest for us to justify our actions to others. This doesn’t seem ethical, right or beautiful to me.”

Bento was notably in charge of the Portugal national team for four years between 2010 and 2014. Cristiano Ronaldo played 38 matches under him, contributing toward 37 goals in the process.

It is worth noting that both Bento and Santos left South Korea and Portugal respectively after the World Cup.

Cristiano Ronaldo is without a club

Cristiano Ronaldo burned his bridges with Manchester United in a controversial interview with Piers Morgan before the World Cup. The English giants notably put an end to their association with him as a result.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner was thus the only free agent to play at the World Cup in Qatar. Having completed his responsibilities with Portugal, he is now determined to find a new club.

Ronaldo has been trying to find a UEFA Champions League club since the summer, albeit without any success. Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr are the only club to have made an offer for him so far.

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