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Portugal Stars Avoid Passing to Ronaldo, Leaving England Legend Baffled

Portugal Stars Avoid Passing to Ronaldo, Leaving England Legend Baffled

Cristiano Ronaldo was repeatedly overlooked by his Portugal teammates during their 2-1 win over the Czech Republic, leaving England legend Stuart Pearce stunned.

Roberto Martinez’s squad left it late to claim all three points in their Group F Euro 2024 opener at the Red Bull Arena in Leipzig. Portugal had to come from behind to avoid a shock upset, with Francisco Conceicao firing home in stoppage time to spark wild scenes.

Conceicao’s late strike spared Ronaldo’s blushes, who squandered five of Portugal’s 19 chances in a below-par performance from the five-time Ballon d’Or winner. He missed a huge opportunity from close range in the first half and had just 32 touches during the 90 minutes, creating one big chance.

However, his lackluster display wasn’t due to a lack of effort, with Stuart Pearce noticing at halftime that his teammates seemed unwilling to play the ball to him. Speaking on talkSPORT commentary during the break, Pearce remarked, “This might sound ridiculous, but maybe they don’t trust Ronaldo enough to keep supplying him with the ball.”

When pressed by talkSPORT presenter Adrian Durham to elaborate, Pearce explained, “There were times when Ronaldo showed to feet, and they didn’t pass to him. For instance, Bernardo Silva had the ball in the center circle, and Ronaldo peeled off in an inside-right position. If this was ten years ago, you’d slide it in front of him, knowing he’d score. Silva denied the pass, and I found that quite strange.”

Despite his struggles, Ronaldo created European Championship history by featuring in his sixth tournament, a feat not managed by another player. He was also in line to become the oldest outfield player in Euros history, only for his teammate Pepe to break the overall record at age 41.

Ronaldo’s record as the youngest player to score in a European Championship, set at Euro 2004, was broken by Turkey starlet Arda Guler, who scored at 19 years and 128 days, 14 days younger than Ronaldo was when he set the record.

Ronaldo and Portugal will next face Turkey on Saturday in a match that could decide the winners of Group F, with Ronaldo surely desperate to get off the mark in Germany.

Credit: TalkSport

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