Cristiano Ronaldo’s explosive reaction to seeing a goal for Portugal disallowed, according to Fernando Meira, who says the striker should be setting a better example as captain.
Ronaldo thought he had given Portugal all three points during a World Cup qualifier Serbia on Saturday after knocking a beautifully flighted cross-field pass from Nuno Mendes into the net.
The 36-year-old’s effort clearly crossed the line despite Aleksandar Mitrovic getting back to clear the ball, but the referee waved play on after consulting with his linesman, sending the five-time Ballon d’Or winner into a furious fit of rage.
Ronaldo threw his captain’s armband down and stormed off the pitch after seeing the goal chalked off, with the match ultimately ending 2-2.
Meira thinks his old team-mate was right to question the incorrect decision, but felt he went too far with his protests given his responsibilities as the leader of the national team.
“Cristiano’s reaction is natural, but it is not acceptable for a national team captain,” the former Portugal international told Record.
“He cannot throw the armband on the ground and go to the locker room while the game continues. it is not acceptable for a player of his importance.
“I understand his frustration and I agree with him because his goal was valid, but the referees have to make decisions, without VAR, and he has to set an example.
“The example he set last night wasn’t good enough.”
Portugal appeared to be cruising towards their second successive victory in Group A after racing into a two-goal lead in the first half against Serbia.
Liverpool frontman Diogo Jota scored twice to put Fernando Santos’ side in control, but the hosts fought back, with Mitrovic halving the deficit just after the break.
Filip Kostic then grabbed an all-important equaliser for Serbia on the hour mark, before the match officials took centre stage.
Serbia were reduced to 10 men when Nikola Milenkovic was sent off in stoppage time, and Portugal then began pushing forwards in extra numbers to make the extra man count.
Ronaldo wheeled away in celebration after scoring what seemed to be a dramatic winner, only for the linesman to deny him by failing to flag for a goal.
Ronaldo vented his frustration after the incident on social media, telling his followers on Instagram: “I always give and will give everything for my country, that will never change.
“But there are difficult times to deal with, especially when we feel that an entire nation is being harmed.”
No retrospective action has been taken against Ronaldo for leaving the pitch before the end of play, and he will, therefore, be available to feature then Portugal take in a trip to Luxembourg on Tuesday night.
After that fixture, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner will return to Juventus, who are due back in Serie A action away at Torino on April 3.