Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo has denied swearing at coach Fernando Santos when he was substituted during a dramatic 2-1 defeat to South Korea in the World Cup on Friday, as both teams advanced into the next round.
Ronaldo said the comments he made as he left the field in the 65th minute were in fact aimed at a South Korean player.
Portuguese media said the former Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus player, who left the English club last month, appeared to challenge Santos over the decision to substitute him, using vulgar language towards the coach.
"What happened was before my substitution, the South Korea player told me to get off quickly. I told him to shut up as he doesn't have that authority. There was no disagreement (with the coach)," Ronaldo was quoted as saying by Portuguese reporters.
The 37-year-old is seeking to equal the Portuguese record of most World Cup goals held by Eusebio, who racked up nine in 1966 in England, the only World Cup tournament he played in.
Santos, asked by reporters about the substitution incident, also said a South Korean player had been aggressive in his comments towards the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.
"I saw the interaction with Korean player and I have no doubts about what happened," Santos said.