Al Shahniya, Qatar — portugal midfielder Bernardo Silva Tried my best to say all the right things. Speaking at Portugal’s first news conference since arriving in Qatar, and in front of a packed media tent at the Al Shahaniya Sports Club, Manchester City The star has had to emphasize more than once that this has resulted in a decline Cristiano RonaldoThe bombshell interview with Piers Morgan that has led to “Mutual” termination of his contract with Manchester UnitedThere is no distraction ahead of their World Cup campaign. However, eventually, the facade slipped.
“I don’t understand your persistence on this subject because there is nothing,” Silva said, wearing the expression of a man who was tired of long-standing questions. It’s a shame to talk about Cristiano’s condition when we have to play the World Cup.
was the same for ruben neves When he spoke the next day, the Wolves midfielder did not want to give much more than his opinion that Ronaldo was in “phenomenal shape”.
Such was the interest surrounding the 37-year-old striker that around 50 camera crews – all pushing and shoving in an attempt to gain access – had to be kept outside when Silva arrived to talk. It is traditional for captains to speak at prematch news conferences 24 hours before the game, but in an effort to avoid the media glare, Portugal decided to sneak Ronaldo in on Monday morning without telling the media assembled in Qatar.
It was telling that one of the first things out of his mouth was a plea for reporters to stop asking him to interview his peers and the uproar it caused. He said, ‘Please don’t ask the players about me, ask about the World Cup.’ “I talk whenever I want.”
However, this is precisely the problem.
Sources have told ESPN that Man United were upset at the timing as the first bits were teased in the hours following their dramatic 2-1 win, among many other issues with the Morgan interview. fulham And alejandro garnachoFirst goal of the Premier League. Sources inside the Portugal camp have also said their star player’s decision to speak out just before the team met in Lisbon raised eyebrows, although there is an acknowledgment that after 191 appearances for the national team, he “does whatever he wants.”
But while this may be true off the pitch, attitudes towards his influence off the pitch are changing. Sources have told ESPN that Ronaldo is set to start the first game in Group H against Portugal Ghana on Thursday, but that coach Fernando Santos is already thinking of leaving him out for the second game against Uruguay Four days later. Santos still believes Ronaldo is Portugal’s best player “in the box”, but is looking at other options, noting that the Uruguay game is expected to be played between the two penalty areas.
In the past, it has been almost unthinkable that Ronaldo, who started just four Premier League games for United this season before he hastily agreed, could not start a game in a major championship. It has even gone so far as to have Santos been asked in news conferences before about being “forced” to choose Ronaldo, or whether it is actually Ronaldo choosing the team.
The longtime Portugal coach, who has been in charge since 2014, says he has a “great relationship” with his star player, but leaving Ronaldo on the bench would send a clear message that Santos is choosing what he feels That’s what’s best for the team. Instead of bowing to the demands of any one person. If nothing else, the days of considering a Portugal team as “Ronaldo plus 10” are over.
Cristiano Ronaldo defended the timing of his explosive interview ahead of Portugal’s World Cup opener.
What hasn’t changed, however, is Ronaldo’s popularity. His image is regularly featured on Doha city buildings, and his face is plastered on advertising boards around the city’s train network to promote the official streaming platform of the World Cup. Opening match day against Qatar EcuadorSitting at a table outside a local coffee shop telling his friend he was desperate to get two tickets when the tournament was in town – “one to see” Lionel MessiAnd one to see Ronaldo.”
A glimpse of Ronaldo prompted nearly 300 people to make the 30-minute journey from central Doha to the Al Samaria Autograph Collection Hotel on Friday night as they waited to arrive in Portugal. The team didn’t just arrive until after midnight, but the enthusiasm with which they were greeted was proof enough that the crowd thought it was worth it.
Ronaldo has already broken a record while in Qatar, becoming the first person to cross 500 million followers on Instagram. There is no doubting his appeal off the pitch, but for the first time he has arrived at the World Cup with questions both inside and outside Portugal about whether his impact on the national team has been positive or negative. In contrast, there is no similar debate taking place in Argentina On whether they should pick Messi despite their 2-1 opening defeat to Saudi Arabia.
Ronaldo, usually optimistic about his prospects, said on Monday he would “wonder” if he had anything left to prove at this age. But a bad World Cup – and one that is likely to be his last – will add to the feeling that perhaps, at this stage of his career, he doesn’t deserve the circus that comes with it. After more than a week of making headlines off the pitch, it’s time to talk about his football.