Portugal coach Fernando Santos said Cristiano Ronaldo was right to be upset following Portugal’s 1-1 draw with Iran on Monday.
The result saw Portugal progress to the last 16, but it was a bad night for Ronaldo, who had a 53rd-minute penalty saved and might have been sent off for a late elbow on Morteza Pouraliganji, for which he was booked following a VAR review.
Ronaldo angrily left the pitch without talking to his team-mates at full-time, but Santos refused to criticise him for his actions.
“I understand, it’s normal,” he said.
“The best players in the world face that when there isn’t an opportunity to really make it happen. That hurts a lot, more to them than to the other players.
“They always want to win, they want to be the best and they refuse to fail – and when they fail they get very upset.”
And Santos insisted he was not worried about a potential red card for his star man, which would have ruled him out of Saturday’s last-16 clash with Uruguay.
“I wasn’t concerned,” he added.
“It seemed like a normal thing in the match and the referee did what he had to do.
“He went to VAR three times and considered two penalties and one yellow card. I’d have to watch it again to talk about it, but I think the VAR did its job and that’s what we have to accept.”