Cristiano Ronaldo with Portugal, unstoppable but no longer so essential

His appearance in training yesterday with a swollen face could not better illustrate the bad moment Cristiano Ronaldo is going through. Hit in the nose by a botched start by Czech goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik early in the game on Saturday, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner suffered from start to finish in his team’s trip to Prague (4-0).

“Less Ronaldo, more Portugal”

He failed twice in his strings; he provoked, no doubt by trying to preserve his nasal septum, a penalty missed by Patrik Schick in added time of the first half; and the way he celebrated his decisive pass on his team’s fourth goal at the end of the game reflected his annoyance very freshly.

After the most painful start to the season of his career with Manchester United (a stage in the Premier League and two in the Europa League, all for a single goal, scored from the penalty spot), CR7 (37) is no longer far away He feels his status in the national team waver. Monday in the morning in ballthe most prestigious of the three sports newspapers in the country, dared to headline: “ Less Ronaldo, more Portugal”.

Portugal learned to win without him

The top scorer in history (117 goals in 190 international matches) has scored 2 goals in 8 games with the Portuguese tunic since November 2021. A far cry from the 11 goals in the 8 games that preceded him and his performance for a decade : Between June 2012 and September 2021, Cristiano Ronaldo accumulated 43% of the Portuguese goals (79 of 183). He is less influential, Portugal have learned to win without him and Bruno Fernandes appears to be growing as his club-mate declines.

On Monday, late in the afternoon, 57% of Internet users on the daily site had responded positively to this question: Should Ronaldo be a substitute against Spain? Quite violent for the one who started on the bench last June against La Roja, but in a totally different context, after an exhausting season.

This time, CR7 needs playing time and the Seleçao must give him two months before the World Cup. “There is no need for a specific job, here all the players feel comfortable”, Fernando Santos evaded on Monday. The Portuguese coach has a long-term vision. However, in his squad, Cristiano Ronaldo is the only attacking element that has already performed during the course of a final phase. He remains in a European Championship with five goals and an assist in four games, just over a year ago. And only a clash in Qatar could amend his desire, he stated last week, to push the pleasure in the Seleçao until Euro 2024.

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