Portugal: Cristiano Ronaldo, to be challenged is to be noticed

Struggling since the start of the season, Cristiano Ronaldo is counting on the World Cup to find a smile and the smell of the pitch. However, in Portugal, more and more voices are rising for the CR7 page to be turned and thus leave room for young people.

Two rooms, two atmospheres. While Cristiano Ronaldo knocked out Manchester United and Erik ten Hag in an interview with Piers Morgan on Talk TV, Portugal boned Nigeria in a friendly preparation match for the World Cup (4-0). A meeting in which CR7, sick, did not take part. And obviously, the Portuguese were not bothered to play without their captain, to see the smiles on the faces and the game deployed by the friends of João Félix. Like the fourth goal scored by João Mário following a movement of the ball guardiolesque. From then on, the question, which was already on the minds of many, ended up being asked in Portugal, something almost unprecedented until then: is Cristiano Ronaldo essential to this team? A survey carried out by CTMV revealed that 40.5% of those questioned believe that he should not be a holder. The only unemployed player present at the World therefore retains the support of the majority, but everything could change in the event of a poor performance against Ghana.

Ronaldo, the only culprit?

Since October 2016, Cristiano Ronaldo has missed 18 games with the Select. Balance sheet? 12 wins, 5 draws, 1 loss, 38 pawns scored and a qualification obtained for the Final Four of the 2019 Nations League, won by Portugal from CR7. More than the figures – to put into perspective because of the names of the opponents and the low importance of the matches played – it is the way of playing of Portugal that challenges during these meetings. And especially the face shown in the offensive sector of certain players, like Bernardo Silva or Bruno Fernandes, who have often played their best games with the Select without the Supreme Leader on the ground. ” When the cat’s away the mice will play ” , goes the famous saying. Except that it’s not all Cristiano Ronaldo’s fault.

So yes, his arms raised when the ball does not reach his feet, his attempts to strike when the game requires a pass or his calls back from hindering the construction of an offensive do not help to deploy a shimmering game. At the same time, his presence does not force Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva – to name a few – to hide, miss rookie passes and offload their responsibilities to pass them on to their captain, as has underlined the Manchester City midfielder in an interview with FIFA: “When you are lucky enough to have a player like Cristiano Ronaldo in your ranks, it is obvious that sometimes you have to put yourself at his service. It’s normal, because we know he can change a game in the last minutes. » This is how to relieve the pressure to put it on the broad shoulders of the former Madrid player, not really scared by this observation. “Since I was 11 years old when I left alone for Lisbon, I have had responsibilities. Sometimes I manage well, sometimes badly. I’m not perfect, but I feel capable of handling the pressure. » Before playing it collectively: “If Portugal are world champions without me scoring, I sign immediately. Sworn on the heads of my children. »

An addictive Ronaldo in competition

Cristiano Ronaldo, Cristiano Ronaldo, Cristiano Ronaldo. Since the arrival of Portugal in Qatar, the journalists present at the press conferences of the Select have only this name in their mouths. To the point that the main interested party asked them to change the disc: “When the next players come, don’t just ask them about Cristiano. You can help them by asking them about the World Cup, their desires, not about me. Me, I am shielded. The Cristiano case is closed. Ask them about them, the Seleção, the clubs… Ok? Thanks ” The advice of the budding editor-in-chief was not followed, since the next day, Bruno Fernandes and Fernando Santos were invited to comment on his situation. It must be said that Ronaldo did not help his compatriots, and in particular Bruno Fernandes – vice captain of the Red Devils – with his pre-World Cup interview.

Enough to fuel rumors of a bad atmosphere within the group, even if the latter were brushed aside by the players and Santos: “Cristiano’s situation doesn’t bother anyone here. Everyone is focused on the competition, it’s a subject we haven’t even talked about among ourselves. I haven’t heard any comments on that. » Only the common goal counts: the world title. For that, they know, they are going to need Cristiano Ronaldo. Because if the Portuguese sometimes play better without him, they still need their captain to score goals when the pressure rises. It’s very simple, the one who could become the first player in history to score in five different World Cups scored 4 of Portugal’s 6 goals at the 2018 World Cup, then 5 of the 7 Lusitanians pawns at Euro 2021. Then Éder is no longer there to replace him in case of injury.

By Steven Oliveira

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