A Bola, the best-selling newspaper in Portugal, dedicates its cover to Cristiano Ronaldo, questioning the Mancunian’s performance in the national team. To the point of seeing the five-time Ballon d’Or leave on the bench during Tuesday night’s Nations League match against Spain?
No player, no matter how legendary, has an immunity totem. The cover of the newspaper A Bola, the best-selling newspaper in Portugal, is further proof of this. This Monday, two days after the Seleção’s victory against the Czech Republic in the Nations League (4-0) and on the eve of Spain’s reception on Tuesday (8:45 p.m.), the importance of Cristiano Ronaldo in the selection is called into question with a sharp and unequivocal title: “Less Ronaldo, more Portugal”.
From stratospheric performance to hungry stats
Demoted to Manchester United, where he has started just once since the start of the season in first league, therefore, CR7 is also increasingly discussed in the selection. Top scorer in the history of Portugal (117 goals in 190 games), the former Madrid player would no longer be the number 1 option in Fernando Santos’ group. For A Bola, the leading role is now held by Bruno Fernandes (28 years old).
The newspaper also points to “a reduced volume of play” and a “decreasing goal percentage”. Since November 2021, the Portuguese has scored just two goals in eight games played for his national team. Far from his standards, the one that he scored 11 in his previous eight games or, as A Bola points out, 43% of Portugal’s goals between June 2012 and September 2021 (79 of 183).
Portuguese netizens want to see him as a substitute for the Spain clash
While assuring that Cristiano Ronaldo plays because he is simply better than his competitors in attack (Rafael Leao, Paulinho, Pedro Neto, Joao Félix, Diogo Jota…), A Bola dares to launch a debate that no one would have imagined a few. Months ago: should CR7 be a substitute this Tuesday against Spain? To this question, 57% of Portuguese Internet users answered “yes” by mid-afternoon on Monday.
Seeing Ronaldo start a match on the bench when he is 100% physically is extremely rare. Since October 2017, five years, this has only happened twice: in November 2020 against Andorra and last June against… Spain, already.