Cristiano Ronaldo hasn’t had a great start to the season. He first missed the pre-season for Manchester United citing personal reasons and then could not feature on regular basis for the club in the starting XI, which has definitely hampered his game time.
The Portugal captain had a plethora of good chances to find the back of the net against Spain in their UEFA Nations League clash in Braga on Tuesday but could not grab them. As a result, Portugal lost by 1-0, ending their hopes of winning the tournament. After this win, Spain have secured a berth in the UEFA Nations League finals.
As Ronaldo hasn’t been at his usual best, there are talks that he is hampering the progress of the team. Many also feel that he should be dropped from Portugal’s team for the FIFA World Cup but the head coach Fernando Santos has revealed they will continue to back their talisman.
Asked about Ronaldo’s lackluster show against Spain in a post-match interview, Santos replied, “What interests me is how the team played. Ronaldo had three or four chances. Two very good ones, which he usually scores. He didn’t score. It’s football.”
Santos feels they need to pull up their socks in the defense to come up with better performances.
“This is the second time we’ve conceded a goal right at the end [after the Serbia defeat]. If we have to defend we should defend with everything. The players and I are devastated at the end of this game,” the Portugal coach said.
Portugal had suffered a 2-1 defeat against Serbia in November in the World Cup qualifiers but Santos didn’t want to compare the two losses.
“Did I learn from the Serbia game? You can’t compare this game to the Serbia game. Against Serbia we scored but then we did not create any more chances. We’ve changed a lot since then, the way we play, the way we think about the game. Of course there are always things to improve. This elimination doesn’t undermine me at all. I have a contract until 2024,” Santos concluded.