Who is Goncalo Ramos? Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo replacement hits a HAT-TRICK in his first World Cup start against Switzerland – after Fernando Santos drops his captain to the bench
- Goncalo Ramos scored a hat-trick after replacing Cristiano Ronaldo for Portugal
- The striker’s three goals helped Portugal to a superb 6-1 win against Switzerland
- Fernando Santos’ side will now play Morocco in the World Cup quarter-finals
- Ronaldo was dropped by Santos for acting out after being substituted last week
- So who is Ramos? Sportsmail takes a look at the 21-year-old star’s career so far
The history books will forever remember Goncalo Ramos as the man who scored a hat-trick for Portugal after Cristiano Ronaldo was dropped at the Qatar World Cup.
A year ago, the thought of dropping Ronaldo before a World Cup knockout match was implausible, but his moody antics after being substituted against South Korea – combined with his controversial exit from Manchester United last month – prompted manager Fernando Santos to axe the country’s superstar against Switzerland.
Imagine, then, the pre-match nerves of 21-year-old replacement Ramos, walking out on to the 88,000-seater Lusail Stadium with hordes of paying Portuguese supporters disgruntled at the prospect of missing their hero.
Goncalo Ramos replaced Cristiano Ronaldo and scored a superb hat-trick against Switzerland
The Portuguese legend was left on the bench for acting out after being substituted last week
It didn’t take long for him to shake off the jitters. A ruthless and powerful left-footed strike in the 17th minute handed his side the perfect start, and two well-taken finishes midway through the second-half brushed away any thought that Portugal needed Ronaldo.
With 74 minutes on the clock, Ramos bowed out and Ronaldo checked in, sporting a wry smile as the throng of Portuguese fans emphatically cheered his 195th international appearance.
Although the 37-year-old prodded and probed for a late goal – rippling the net with a disallowed attempt – the evening ultimately belonged to Benfica’s young striker, who began the tournament as a relative unknown.
With 14 goals in 22 appearances across all competitions so far this campaign, there’s no denying Benfica’s hitman earned his place in Santos’ squad.
Boss Fernando Santos admitted before the game that he was furious with Ronaldo’s behaviour
Leading the line for the Portuguese giants in the wake of Darwin Nunez’s £85million exit to Liverpool this summer, Ramos has impressed in Lisbon, having graduated from the club’s academy.
His first career hat-trick came in August during Benfica’s 4–1 home win against Midtjylland in the Champions League qualifiers.
Before he was trusted with more regular first team responsibilities, the youngster netted eight times for the Portuguese giants in 46 matches last season, which included a Champions League goal against Liverpool.
As a teenager, Ramos made his Benfica debut in July 2020 and scored twice in eight minutes as a second-half substitute. Later that year, he marshalled the Portuguese outfit to the final of the UEFA Youth League against Real Madrid, finishing the tournament with a runners-up medal and as joint-top scorer with eight goals.
Ramos won man of the match after helping Portugal to a sensational 6-1 win in the round of 16
Internationally, Ramos has been a stalwart for Portugal at youth level, representing his country in every age group since the under-17s.
He played a key role in Portugal’s journey to the U19 Euros final in 2019, scoring four goals in five appearances as the tournament top scorer, including hat-trick against Republic of Ireland.
His senior debut, which came during Portugal’s pre-tournament friendly against Nigeria, acted as the perfect precursor for the World Cup, as he helped his side to a confident 4-0 victory with a goal and an assist.
The 21-year-old striker has scored 14 goals in 22 appearances for Benfica so far this campaign
Perhaps anticipating the need for Ramos later in the tournament, Santos handed the Benfica star two short cameos against Ghana and Uruguay during the group stage, even if it amounted to just 10 minutes of game-time in total.
Remarkably, having chalked up just 33 minutes of international experience before his scintillating display against Switzerland, Ramos became the first player to score a hat-trick during his first World Cup start since Miroslav Klose in 2002.
Leeds reportedly expressed interest in the Benfica youngster last summer. No doubt his stock will have risen considerably in January now that he’s overshadowed Ronaldo.
He is the first player to score a hat-trick in his first World Cup start since Miroslav Klose in 2002
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