191 selections. 117 goals. 43 assists. Given his record with the Selecçao, it is difficult to criticize Cristiano Ronaldo in Portugal. International since 2003, CR7 has been the captain of the 2016 European champions for more than a decade. Leader of a generation that allowed the Lisbon team to win the first international title in its history, the Manchester United player is an idol that is hard to scratch. However, even in the country, the debate is gradually opening up on the status to be granted to the five-time Ballon d’Or.
The Portuguese press not tender with CR7
“Less Ronaldo, more Portugal” titled And she was, the country’s main sports daily, before the League of Nations match against Spain at the end of September. A few days earlier, the former Real Madrid player had not been on his plate, despite his team’s big victory (4-0) against the Czech Republic.
Holder at the kickoff against La Roja, CR7 had delivered a very mediocre performance. Bad passes, missed opportunities, loss of balls… A match to forget, lost 1-0, in line with his last outings with the jersey of the selection. After the final whistle, Ronaldo had even thrown his armband to the ground, a sign of his exasperation. “He is indefensible. He lacks rhythm, he lacks confidence, he lacks speed and he lacks competition for him to have played the game hard”then got carried away the journalist Vítor Serpa in the editorial of the Portuguese sports daily.
After the meeting, Fernando Santos, who had confirmed Cristiano Ronaldo in his role as captain after Euro 2021, came to the aid of his star striker. “Ronaldo had three or four opportunitieshe analyzed. Two very good ones, where he usually scores. He didn’t score, that’s football. » Sign that the coach of the Selecção has no intention of letting go of the top scorer in the history of the national team.
Other solutions in attack for Fernando Santos
But since the end of September, the situation of CR7 has become even more complicated with Manchester United, who ended up recording his early departure.
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Cristiano Ronaldo has only started twice since the start of the season. So far, his aura and his past with the selection has allowed him to stay in the starting lineup. But the five-time Ballon d’Or, who will play his fifth World Cup in Qatar, is more than ever on the Crete line. And for good reason, behind the 37-year-old player, the Selecção have other solutions in attack. With Gonçalo Ramos, Rafael Leão, Diogo Jota, Pedro Neto, João Félix or even André Silva, Fernando Santos has multiple solutions to rethink his attack during the World Cup in Qatar.
Poured into Pool H, CR7’s teammates will find Uruguay, Ghana and South Korea. After a disappointing 2018 World Cup and Euro 2021 (two eliminations in the round of 16), Portugal will try to do better in Qatar. It remains to be seen whether for this, the Selecçao must do without its captain.
Portugal’s schedule at the World Cup
24 November (17h) : Portugal – Ghana
November 28 (20h) : Portugal – Uruguay
December 2: South Korea – Portugal