'Ronaldo even more vital to Portugal'

2016-06-07 09:16
Cristiano Ronaldo (AFP)

Cape Town - Portugal coach Fernando Santos is counting on Cristiano Ronaldo to use another impressive season with Real Madrid as a springboard to a strong Euro 2016 campaign.

Ronaldo joined his national team in training on Sunday, eight days after scoring the winning penalty against Atletico Madrid for Real to lift the Champions League trophy.

His presence is a boost for Portugal, who lost 1-0 to England in a friendly last week and take on Estonia on Wednesday in Lisbon in their final warm-up game.

Santos had wanted to give Ronaldo and Real defender Pepe a chance to a catch their breath before they joined the team.

"They needed to rest," Santos told Spanish sports magazine Marca.

"It's better for everyone that they arrive happy and with that extra bounce after achieving their aims."

Ronaldo scored 51 goals in 48 games in all competitions for Real this season.

"If he is so important for Real, you can only imagine how significant he is for Portugal. Certainly the same or even more.

"When you have players that score 50 to 60 goals per season, and who can always score, they are of vital importance. It's impossible to quantify."

Ronaldo's fitness is a concern, with tendonitis preventing him from being at his best at the 2014 World Cup when Portugal crashed out in the group stages.

"There's always talk that all the players must arrive 100 per cent," Santos said. "But that is never the reality.

"Obviously, it would be ideal if he was at his best but I would never stop calling Cristiano even if he was at 80 per cent."

Ronaldo, 31, came close to winning a trophy with Portugal at Euro 2004 but Greece beat them in the final.

Portugal reached the semi-finals four years ago but were eliminated by Spain on penalties.

"If we think of the generation of players we have had, it's about time," Santos said.

"Portugal should have already won a European title but just like Spain, they took their time and now they have managed to win several trophies."

Portugal begin their Euro 2016 campaign against Iceland on June 14 in Marseille. They also face Austria and Hungary in Group F.

Read more on:    portugal  |  euro 2016  |  cristiano ronaldo  |  soccer

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2016/17 season?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.