Fans in Portugal have voted on whether Ronaldo should start vs Morocco – and the results were staggering
Jose Fonte has given an honest assessment on how Cristiano Ronaldo negatively impacts Portugal’s tactics on the pitch. Fernando Santos controversially opted to bench Ronaldo for Portugal’s 6-1 demolition of Switzerland in the last-16 of the World Cup.
It was a decision which coincided with the nation’s best performance of the tournament so far with Ronaldo’s replacement, Goncalo Ramos, notching a hat-trick.
Fonte, 38, who narrowly missed out on Santos’ 26-man squad for Qatar after being included at the preliminary stage, has explained why the Manchester United and Real Madrid icon has been dropped.
What did Fonte say about Ronaldo’s influence on Portugal’s tactics?
Initially reported by Portuguese outlet A Bola, relayed per the Daily Mail, Fonte said in a podcast:
“Portugal have the quality to do this in every game, but we have to be honest – just his presence on the field makes the players of the national team unconsciously and automatically have to play for him and always give him the ball.
“When he is not there, Portugal plays more as a team and that was seen. They played fluidly, without a single focal point, everyone contributed, and it was beautiful to see”.
Fonte certainly has a point. Portugal scored six but it could have been even more had their finishing been sharper.
Does Fonte think Ronaldo will regain his place in the starting XI?
Fonte continued: “We had success with Cristiano Ronaldo over these years, he was very influential. Goncalo Ramos offers a different game proposal and had a perfect night, we were all happy for him. I hope it stays that way”.
He insisted that Ramos, who was in top form for Benfica prior to the World Cup, won’t lose his place in the side. “How if the boy scored three goals?”, Fonte said.
“You cannot teach a legend like Ronaldo. Ronaldo will always be Ronaldo and for Portugal it is even very positive to have a player like him come off the bench – it will be one more problem to cause the opponents.
“Fernando Santos brought a very strong mentality to the national team. The team has a great ability to defend together. And it will cause offensive problems in every game.
“I believe that Portugal will go to the end of the journey, the World Cup is the title we are missing. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for that to happen”.
The Portuguese media carried out a survey in its home country, hoping to identify what percentage of fans wanted Ronaldo to return to Santos’ starting line-up for the quarter final. It found that a staggering 93.6% of voters want Ramos to start up front for the nation vs Morocco.