Other than his penalty kick against Ghana, Ronaldo has largely been indifferent, and his finishing prowess is no longer at the level it was till a few years ago
After falling out of favour with his club Manchester United, Cristiano Ronaldo is now facing intense scrutiny for his underwhelming performances for Portugal in the ongoing World Cup 2022. In a recent survey, conducted by the Portuguese newspaper A Bola, 70% of the respondents want Ronaldo to warm the bench for the knockout rounds.
Ronaldo in his late career has become a liability for the team, and there’s a valid argument about him not fitting in the strongest XI of Portugal. There’s no dearth of talent in the team, and the manager Fernando Santos had to bench the most in-form winger Rafael Leao to accommodate the ageing superstar.
In the three group stage matches, Ronaldo cut across as a lonely figure, unable to link up with his teammates, take on defenders, and his unwillingness to track back often puts the team at disadvantage. Other than his penalty kick against Ghana, he has largely been indifferent, and his finishing prowess is no longer at the level it was till a few years ago.
“Should Cristiano Ronaldo keep his title in the National Team?” asked the survey. The overwhelming majority of Portuguese fans feel they are done with Ronaldo, and their team will be better off in his absence.
“He had the opportunity to be the leader in this selection, but he is being an obstacle. He’s crumbling the image he’s built of himself. Lose him and lose the selection. This is no longer CR7, it’s CR37,” answered one of the respondents.
These are genuine concerns over Ronaldo’s efficacy in the team, but it’s almost improbable that Santos will start him on the bench. At this stage of his career, he might be more effective as an impact sub, but to start is equivalent to playing with ten men.
He is not employed with any club right now, after mutually terminating his contract with Manchester United last month. The elite clubs are quite sceptical of having him in the club, and Ronaldo didn’t help himself by publicly slamming Man Utd in his interview with Piers Morgan.
Portugal will be taking on Switzerland in the Round of 16 tomorrow.
Lead Image: Cristiano Ronaldo/Twitter