Santos happy for Ronaldo

2014-11-19 08:20
Cristiano Ronaldo and Andre Ayew (AFP)

Manchester - Portugal manager Fernando Santos insisted Cristiano Ronaldo's return to Old Trafford had been a success even though the former Manchester United winger was anonymous in his side's 1-0 friendly win over Argentina.

Ronaldo was taken off at half-time to save him for Real Madrid duties and did little in his brief appearance to get the Old Trafford crowd out of their seats as his much-anticipated duel with Argentina's Lionel Messi failed to live up to the pre-match hype.

But Ronaldo, who had only played at Old Trafford once since leaving United in 2009, did at least get a warm welcome from the lower than expected 41,233 crowd and Santos, whose side claimed their first win over Argentina since 1972, said that was a fitting mark of respect for one of the club's all-time greats.

"Yes Cristiano is a legend and played for this club like many other legends," Santos said.

"When I was a child I watched Denis Law and Bobby Charlton and many other famous players who played here. Cristiano is in the same class.

"I'm really pleased he got a good reception. It is a great club."

Santos said Portugal deserved their victory from a lacklustre encounter because they battled until the end, when substitute Raphael Guerreiro headed in Ricardo Quaresma's cross in stoppage-time.

"In the first 25 minutes we didn't play very well, then we got better in the next 20 minutes," Santos said.

"The second half basically there were no opportunities for anyone, but the goals can come in the first or last minute.

"It doesn't matter, we scored and won the match."

Asked about the crowd's disappointment that Messi and Ronaldo were only on show for such a brief period, Argentina boss Gerardo Martino said he was determined not to play his talisman for longer than the first half.

Martino didn't want to overwork Messi after he played and scored in the World Cup finalists' win against Croatia in the first match of their two-game tour of England at West Ham's Upton Park last week.

"Talking about Cristiano I wouldn't have a clue about what Portugal's plans for him were, but for Lionel we wanted to take him off after 45 minutes because he played the full 90 minutes against Croatia," Martino said.

Martino was frustrated that Argentina failed to turn their territorial dominance into a match-winning performance.

But he took heart from the way Argentina looked the better team even without Messi in the second half.

"It's a shame we lost because we dominated in every aspect of the game," he added.

"We were solid in defence, created chances going forward and did everything but score. If we could have finished those opportunities everything would have been perfect.

"Even so, I enjoyed the opportunity to play here at this great stadium."


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Do you think SAFA made the right choice in appointing Stuart Baxter as head coach of Bafana Bafana?

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.