Carvalho stormed out of the Portugal camp ahead of last week’s 4-0 win against Cyprus, apparently because he was angry at the prospect of being put on the substitutes’ bench, though he has not explained his behavior. He later announced he was retiring from international football.
Bento said on the eve of the Cyprus game that Carvalho was a “deserter” and would never play again as long as he remained coach. Carvalho responded by comparing Bento to “a mercenary.”
Despite the controversy and the bad blood between them, Bento said in a television interview late Tuesday that Carvalho should not be sanctioned.
“If anyone asked me whether Ricardo should be punished beyond the harm that he’s suffered in terms of (his absence from) the national team, I’d say no,” Bento said.
The 33-year-old Carvalho, a central defender who previously played for Porto and Chelsea, has collected 75 caps since his 2003 debut. Against Cyprus, Pepe and Bruno Alves played in the central defense.
Portugal has risen to joint top of qualifying Group H with Norway and Denmark after a four-game winning streak under Bento.
The Portuguese Football Federation is due to examine the case and could impose a ban on Carvalho playing in Portugal for up to three months. The federation says it will discuss the spat soon but has set no date.
The ban could be extended to Europe if the federation reports the case to UEFA.