Cristiano Ronaldo has already been told in private about role change at Euro 2024

Ronaldo will have a different role to play at the Euros this year (Image: Getty)

Cristiano Ronaldo is set to embrace a fresh challenge at Euro 2024, with expectations of the legendary forward to feature as a super-sub rather than in his customary starting XI role for Portugal. The talismanic striker, who boasts an impressive tally of 130 goals and 46 assists from 207 appearances for his country, may view the upcoming Euro 2024 tournament as his international swansong.

Wes Brown, Ronaldo’s former colleague at Manchester United, shed light on the evolving role that awaits the Portuguese star at the tournament.

Speaking on Reach’s new Euro Thrash podcast – which you can find on YouTube, Apple and Spotify – Brown said: “I think he will start, but ultimately I don’t think he’s going to play the whole game. I think he’ll understand that. He’s a great player to have coming off the bench, someone who is a shoo-in for goals, with his scoring record.”

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Brown further commented on Ronaldo’s anticipated approach to the change, suggesting a reduced playing time could be beneficial: “It is as simple as that. I do think he will play a different role. And it will be good for him to not play a game. He will just come on for 20 minutes, and then see how far they can get.”

The decorated defender, who clinched two Champions League titles and five Premier League crowns with United, also touched upon the mutual respect between Ronaldo and Portugal manager Roberto Martinez, hinting that there won’t be any public discontent from Ronaldo over the tactical shift, reports the Mirror.

Brown said: “You’ve got to respect the manager and the manager will respect Ronaldo. It’s as simple as that with what he’s achieved in football, and they will have that discussion at some point. So I don’t think you’ll see fallouts on TV because that is what people will be talking about. That will all be done behind closed doors and before the tournament starts.”

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Ronaldo’s legacy with Portugal is marked by numerous memorable moments, including his pivotal role in their Euro 2016 triumph over France. Yet, a moment etched in controversy remains from when Ronaldo, then a Manchester United player, came up against club team-mate Wayne Rooney in the 2006 World Cup quarter-final.

The infamous incident saw Rooney receive a red card for stamping on Ricardo Carvalho during England’s clash with Portugal, which ended in penalty shootout heartbreak for England.

Ronaldo’s animated appeal to the referee and subsequent shove involving Rooney culminated in an iconic wink towards the Portugal bench, sparking outrage among fans who interpreted it as Ronaldo celebrating his United colleague’s red card in a crucial match.

However, Brown revealed on Euro Thrash that the pair didn’t let a single argument disrupt their return to their clubs. He stated: “It’s football and you do things in the heat of the moment. And you know what never happened? There was never one argument. They just knew to get back to the club and to be the best players in the world. And we just got on with it.

“The press made a big deal out of it, but those two as individuals simply moved on because there’s no point dwelling on past events. Obviously Wayne would have been disappointed at the time. But when they all returned two, three, four weeks later, it had all blown over.”

Brown added: “It was two lads and one was trying to get the other one sent off. It’s as simple as that. And then winking just to say, ‘cheers mate, I’ll see you in a few weeks back at the club’. That’s honestly what happened and they just got on with it.”

Watch and listen to Euro Thrash on YouTube, Apple Podcasts and Spotify with regular new episodes throughout Euro 2024.