Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Portugal gets rid of Cristiano Ronaldo in the World Cup

DOHA ( Associated Press) — For Bruno Fernandes, his teammate Cristiano Ronaldo is the most famous athlete in the world.

Joao Felix has described Cristiano as “irreplaceable”.

21-year-old striker Goncalo Ramos, who has just entered the World Cup, has never seen his team without Cristiano.

Without the greatest footballer in the country’s history, the future could be a tough challenge for the new breed of Portuguese internationals.

But he is not seen doing so in this World Cup.

In fact, they feel freer in Cristiano’s presence without Cristiano, something reflected in a collapsed performance in Tuesday’s 6-1 win over Switzerland in the round of 16.

After all, Portugal went from strength to strength without the presence of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, as it might be hard to imagine for some.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos wanted a team that could play more fluidly against Switzerland and that meant the 37-year-old star – the top scorer in men’s soccer (118) – on the substitutes’ bench. It was a bold decision and it at least made a mark against the Swiss.

It was already a decision Erik ten Haag has made at Manchester United this season, leaning towards players who give him more mobility in his four-up block, rather than a scorer who now has the same whirlwind of his best time. does not keep

It was not until the round of 16 that Santos decided to make a decision at the World Cup, determined to enforce his authority after Cristiano’s rudeness when he was substituted in the game against South Korea at the end of the group stage. was.

On Thursday, the Portuguese football federation insisted the star remains an important part of the national team, adding that “every day he builds a unique career in the service of the national team and country that must be respected and Attests to this unquestionable commitment with the selection.

It does not guarantee ownership.

Against Switzerland, Ramos took over from Cristiano and scored a hat-trick on his debut and demanded more from the rival defence. He gave Félix, playing behind Ramos, more room for maneuver and scored one of his best matches for the national team.

It was another Felix, very different from the harsh Atlético de Madrid that Diego Simeone directs.

Santos highlighted the qualities of the three strikers in his squad – Cristiano Ramos and Andre Silva. While Cristiano is a player “more used to playing in a certain area”, Ramos is “much more dynamic”.

Doing without Cristiano means tactical changes. It could work, will it work against Morocco?

Morocco, seeking to become the first African team to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup, will be expected to drop off the line to defend and attack against Portugal. Santos will have to decide whether this is the type of game in which Cristiano will do better or to keep a player who has just played the game of his life.

There is no doubt. Portugal would become a dangerous team with both propositions.

Nation World News Desk
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