He was not on the program, but Cristiano Ronaldo invited himself to the media on Monday, November 21, three days before Portugal entered the tournament against Ghana on Thursday at the 974 stadium in Doha. Smiling and relaxed, “CR7” has a message to deliver. “When a player comes here for a press conference, don’t talk to him about me: talk about the World Cup, talk about the national team”, advises the captain of the Seleçao. And to add further: “You don’t need to talk about Cristiano anymore. »
An astonishing statement for a follower of the third person singular. The five-time Ballon d’Or player loves his country, representing it, scoring for it, but, until now, he had never been too concerned about devouring all the media space. He has probably guessed the irritation of some of his partners to play the consultants to comment on his actions, his gestures and, above all, his setbacks in recent months. There is something to say. Tuesday, November 22, Ronaldo found himself again in the heart of the news with the announcement of the breach of contract with Manchester United.
The day before, the yet very polite Bernado Silva thus set the tone. Asked about the flamethrower interview given by Ronaldo to journalist Piers Morgan for the British channel Talk TV, in which he settles accounts with his club Manchester United, the Manchester midfielder… City did not hide his irritation: “We only talk about that in the last press conferences, when Portugal have a World Cup to play which is more important than that. »
🏆 #beINFWC2022 🇵🇹 Cristiano Ronaldo responds to the media: “You don’t need to talk about Cristiano anymore” https://t.co/pCZiL0wGuT
The former Monaco player targets the media – starting with English journalists, who are very present and more interested in Ronaldo’s moods than in the fate of Portugal in this World Cup – but his statement says a lot about fatigue. of a rising and talented generation, annoyed to be considered as mere auxiliaries to their 37-year-old superstar captain.
Starting with Bruno Fernandes. Teammate of “CR7” in Manchester before this World Cup, the playmaker has flourished again since the relegation of his compatriot to the bench. In Portugal, the relationship between the two men provides inexhaustible material for the many talk shows on football. Especially since the video of their very fresh handshake, published on November 15 by the Portuguese federation. “I have a very good relationship with him, it was only a jokeassures Ronaldo. His plane had been delayed, that’s why I asked him if he had come by boat. »
“Less Ronaldo, more Portugal”
Two days earlier, Fernandes confirmed the version of the lodger captain at the microphone of Sky Sports and regretted the extent of the episode. “In Portugal we have a problem: I was watching TV and they talked about this case for forty-five minutes, explaining that there was a cold. And when the audio of the video revealed that it was actually jokes between us, they backtracked. »
This development does not exclude a question, no longer so taboo: can Cristiano Ronaldo at his age start a career as a luxury substitute? In club as in selection, Bruno Fernandes seems more liberated without his presence in front of him. A valid observation in the national team for Bernado Silva or Joao Felix, sparkling during the victory (4-0) in the preparation match against Nigeria, on November 17, in the absence of Ronaldo, victim of gastroenteritis .
End of September, In Bola – the best-selling sports daily in the country – demanded, in “one”, “Less Ronaldo, more Portugal” after a convincing 4-0 victory against the Czech Republic in the League of Nations. The newspaper pointed to its “reduced game volume” and “a declining goal percentage”, and published a poll in which 57% of Internet users wanted to see him start on the bench against Spain in the next match. With a starting Ronaldo, Portugal will lose 1-0.
This debate does not exist in the mind of one man: Fernando Santos. The coach even defended his captain for his interview with Piers Morgan, the second part of which was broadcast during the match against Nigeria. A timing that raises questions. ” It’s a personal interview, very personal in fact. Isn’t Cristiano Ronaldo a free man? It was his decision and we have to understand and respect it.”, says Santos. Since his appointment in 2014, this claimed Catholic always relies on God and Cristiano. And there is no reason to see him change his religion during this World Cup.
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