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Portugal national football team
European Championship | Group Stage
Jun 18, 2024 at 8pm UK
Red Bull Arena
Czech Republic national football team

2 - 1
Czech Republic

Hranac (69' og.), Conceicao (90+2')
Leao (39'), Conceicao (90+3')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Provod (62')
Schick (57')

Cristiano Ronaldo branded one of Portugal's 'weakest link' at Euro 2024 by ex-Manchester United player

© Reuters
A former Manchester United player surprisingly launches a scathing attack on Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of Portugal's opening Euro 2024 Group F clash against Czech Republic on Tuesday.

A former Manchester United player has surprisingly launched a scathing attack on Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of Portugal's opening Euro 2024 Group F clash against Czech Republic on Tuesday.

Ronaldo led his country to Euro 2016 glory, and eight years later, the 39-year-old is set to play an important role for Roberto Martinez's side, who are regarded as one of the favourites to win this summer's tournament in Germany.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner scored 10 goals in nine games to help Portugal qualify for Euro 2024 with a perfect record, before netting two more goals in a 3-0 friendly win over the Republic of Ireland last week.

Ronaldo has scored a total of 130 international goals in 207 appearances for Portugal - an all-time record - and is also the all-time leading scorer at the European Championship (14 goals), but the legendary striker's ability in the latter stages of his career is still being questioned ahead of Euro 2024.

Indeed, former Czech Republic international Karel Poborsky has insisted that he wants Ronaldo to start for Portugal in Tuesday's Euro 2024 opener, as he believes that the Al-Nassr striker is "not as good at building the game and pressing as his younger teammates".

Karel Poborsky pictured on November 30, 2019 [IMAGO]© Imago

Poborsky questions Ronaldo's ability ahead of Euro 2024 opener

Speaking to Czech-based news outlet CTK, as quoted by Goal, Poborsky said: "I have been saying for a long time that Ronaldo will be one of their weakest links.

"The fans of both teams will go crazy for him, but at his age he is not as good at building the game and pressing as his younger teammates.

"So our team (Czech Republic) would rather him start. Hats off to him for what he has achieved - thanks to his enormous self-confidence. But you can't stop age, he is 39.

"We don't know how he is with coach Roberto Martinez, but it was written about before that his predecessor Fernando Santos already encountered a problem at the World Cup in Qatar."

Poborsky alluded to Ronaldo being benched by former Portugal boss Santos at the 2022 World Cup during the knockout rounds, with Goncalo Ramos taking his place in attack.

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring for Portugal on June 11, 2024© Reuters

Ronaldo eyeing up Poborsky Euros record

Poborsky joined Man United in 1996 after an impressive European Championship campaign with Czech Republic, scoring an iconic scooped goal in a quarter-final victory against none other than Portugal.

The 52-year-old, who spent just two seasons at Man United, currently holds the record for the most assists (eight) at the European Championship, but he could be overtaken at Euro 2024 by Ronaldo, who is just one behind with seven assists.

Despite Poborsky's comments about Ronaldo, Portugal boss Martinez has insisted that the veteran striker is in his squad "on merit".

"Cristiano is in the national team on merit," Martinez told reporters." Nobody gets into the national team by just having a name. Cristiano scored 50 goals in 51 games - consistent with his club in his league - and he scored [10] goals in our qualification rounds.

"He's a goalscorer and, for us, he's someone who can make that final move. He can stretch defences and open spaces. Over the years, he has changed his way of playing slightly, but I can only say that Cristiano is in the national team on merit and the numbers are there to back that up."

Ronaldo, who is bidding to break a plethora of records at Euro 2024, will become the first-ever player to take part in six European Championships if he features against Czech Republic on Tuesday.

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Al-Nassr's Cristiano Ronaldo during the warm up before the match on March 30, 2024
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Group A

Q Germany Germany32107
Q Switzerland Switzerland31205
3 Hungary Hungary31023
4 Scotland flag Scotland30121

Group B

Q Spain Spain33009
Q Italy Italy31114
3 Croatia Croatia30212
4 Albania national flag Albania30121

Group C

Q England flag England31205
Q Denmark Denmark30303
Q Slovenia Slovenia30303
4 Serbia Serbia30212

Group D

Q Austria Austria32016
Q France France31205
Q Netherlands Netherlands31114
4 Poland Poland30121

Group E

Q Romania Romania31114
Q Belgium Belgium31114
Q Slovakia Slovakia31114
4 Ukraine Ukraine31114

Group F

Q Portugal Portugal32016
Q Turkey Turkey32016
Q Georgia Georgia31114
4 Czech Republic Czech Republic30121

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