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19th Jun 2024

Portugal players accused of not passing to Cristiano Ronaldo in Czechia win

Callum Boyle

Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo failed to set the world alight

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal teammates have been accused of deliberately not passing to him in their Euro 2024 opener.

Portugal commenced their campaign with a 2-1 win over Czechia in which they required a 90th minute goal from Francisco Conceicao to get the three points.

The Euro 2016 winners found themselves behind shortly after the hour-mark when Lukas Provod’s curling effort beat Diogo Costa.

Their lead lasted all of seven minutes though as Robin Hranac turned into his own net. Portugal then thought they had won the game with three minutes to spare but Diogo Jota’s header was ruled out for an offside from Ronaldo in the build up.

They continued to huff and puff and eventually found the breakthrough in stoppage time as Conceicao rifled home from close range to earn Roberto Martinez’s side an unconvincing victory.

Ronaldo being left out?

At the tender age of 39, it’s largely expected that Ronaldo shouldn’t be having the same impact as he used to do.

There had been calls for Martinez to drop him from the side with some suggesting that they look a better side without him.

Alas, Ronaldo started and played the full 90 in a central forward role. He was largely ominous however and often dropped back deeper in a bid to become more involved in the game but one person had a different theory as to why the Al Nassr man was looking isolated.

Stuart Pearce was working on the game for TalkSPORT and he felt that Ronaldo’s teammates were choosing not to pass to him on purpose.

Cristiano Ronaldo

“This might sound ridiculous, but [maybe] they don’t trust Ronaldo enough to keep supplying him with the ball, that type of thing,” he said.

“There’s been times in the games where he’s shown to feet and they’ve not popped the ball into his feet. 

“There was one with Bernardo Silva, it was one of these rogue passes [by Czech Republic] that got cut out. Bernardo Silva had it in the centre circle, Ronaldo peeled off in an inside-right position. I’m thinking, ‘If this was ten years ago, you slide it in front of him and you know full well he’s going to get there and score.’ He [Silva] denied the pass, and I found that quite strange.”

Ronaldo and Portugal return to action on Saturday against Turkey.

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