Ronaldo was substituted by Portugal manager Fernando Santos in the 65th minute and took his time exiting the pitch. Along came South Korea’s Cho Gue-Sung to hurry him up and both players got into a verbal exchange for which the referee had to intervene.
Portugal and South Were tied at 1 – 1 at the time and the team from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) knew that they needed another goal to make it into the round of 16. Ronaldo was thought to be stalling for time by Cho Gue-Sung, who tried to hurry him along before their verbal confrontation ensued.
South Korea ended up winning the game by a 2 – 1 scoreline thanks to a late goal from Wolverhampton Wanderers man Hwang Hee-Chan. They finished second on goal difference behind Portugal, who won the group with six points.
Speaking on the game after the match, Ronaldo was asked to explain what happened during his substitution. “Before my substitution, one of their players was telling me to leave quickly,” Ronaldo said.
“I told him to shut up, he has no authority, he doesn’t have to say anything.”
“I would speed up the pace if the referee said so. He doesn’t have to. There’s no controversy, it happened in the heat of the game.”
“We’re in the next stage. We have to be, not only players, but all Portuguese people, because we want to go through and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”
It has been revealed that Ronaldo was angry at his substitution before the spat with Gue-Sung by Portuguese outlet A Bola, who picked up on his comments towards the team’s dugout after his number was put up.
A Bola’s cameras picked Ronaldo shouting to Santos, “You’re in such a hurry to take me off!” Before he started grudgingly trudging towards the bench. The veteran manager had to explain what happened at the time to the media.
“Ronaldo came off the pitch angry, yes, but with the Korean player who was insulting him and sending him away from the pitch,” Santos said. “He replied to him and that is perfectly normal.
“I heard what the Korean player said, in English, and I have no doubt about it and Ronaldo replied ‘you must be in a big hurry for me to leave’. Pepe even went after the Korean player because of that.”