Jose Morais, the Portuguese football coach who guided the K League All-Star team in an exhibition match against Juventus FC last week, said Wednesday that Cristiano Ronaldo didn't play due to fatigue from a tight schedule.
Some 63,000 fans at Seoul World Cup Stadium went home Friday feeling disappointment and anger after Ronaldo failed to play in a 3-3 draw between Juventus and All-Stars from the South Korean pro football league. The non-appearance of 34-year-old Juventus forward caused a huge backlash here, with some fans lodging lawsuits against the local sports agency that organized the exhibition match.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Yonhap)
Morais, currently head coach of defending K League 1 champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, said Ronaldo couldn't play because of his bad physical condition. Morais previously worked with the five-time Ballon d'Or winner back when he was an assistant coach at Real Madrid.
"After the match, I talked with Ronaldo and he told me that he wasn't fit for the match," Morais told reporters ahead of a K League 1 match between Jeonbuk and Jeju United. "Then I told Ronaldo that some 60,000 fans here will feel very sad."
Morais, a former assistant to Jose Mourinho, said he heard that Ronaldo was fatigued following a tight schedule.
"Ronaldo played full-time (in a friendly match) in China, and with traffic problems and tight schedule issues, I heard that he felt tired and decided not to play," he said.
Meanwhile, a local survey showed that eight out of 10 South Koreans said they would not root for Ronaldo following the recent no-show incident.
According to the survey conducted by Realmeter, 25.3 percent said that the K League, South Korea's pro football governing body, is the most to blame, while 22.7 percent blamed Ronaldo first and foremost, 18.3 percent found fault with Juventus and 17.3 percent held TheFasta, the agency that organized the event, responsible. (Yonhap)