Portugal boss' stance on banning Cristiano Ronaldo from free-kicks after Euro 2024 woes

Roberto Martinez is sticking with Cristiano Ronaldo on free-kicks at Euro 2024 (Image: Getty)

Portugal manager Roberto Martinez has spoken out on the prospect of banning Cristiano Ronaldo from free-kick duties at Euro 2024. The Al-Nassr veteran failed with several set-piece attempts against Slovenia in the last 16 before missing a penalty in extra-time.

Attracting more criticism towards Ronaldo was the fact Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes – a top free-kick-taker in his own right – didn’t get a look in. Portugal were eventually let off the hook by their goalkeeper, Diogo Costa, who saved three penalties in the shootout.

Martinez was asked about the prospect of shaking up his dead-ball pecking order ahead of Friday night’s mouth-watering quarter-final clash with France. But he insisted that Ronaldo and Fernandes will continue to bear the responsibility between them.

“The players practice in training,” said the Portugal boss. “Cristiano and Bruno Fernandes are the two players who have the responsibility. Sometimes it just depends on the profile, or the position, or the moment, but we are lucky to have two players of such a level.”

Ronaldo has taken 60 free-kicks at major tournaments and scored only once. He is the top-scorer in European Championship history but none of those goals came from dead-ball situations.

Former United, Real Madrid and Juventus forward Ronaldo was distraught at his wastefulness against Slovenia and broke down in tears after his penalty miss.

Bruno Fernandes has been unable to take Portugal free-kick off Ronaldo’s hands (Image: Getty)

“It’s football, those who fail are those who try too,” said the 39-year-old. “I will always do my best for this shirt, whether I fail or not. You can’t be afraid, I’ve never been afraid to face things head on, sometimes I get it right, sometimes I don’t, but giving up is something you’ll never hear from my name.”

Friday night’s quarter-final in Hamburg will pit Ronaldo against another global megastar, Kylian Mbappe. And while Ronaldo has taken plenty of flak during the course of the tournament, Mbappe remains a long-standing admirer.

“It’s an honour to face him,” said the Frenchman. “Everyone knows the admiration I’ve always had for Cristiano as a player. Over time, I’ve had the chance to get to know him and talk to him many times. We’re still in touch.

“He’s always trying to give me advice and keep up to date with what’s going on in my career. It’s a pleasure. Playing against him is an honour, with everything he’s done in football. No matter what happened before or what will happen in the future, he’ll always be a legend of the game. “

Source: https://www.express.co.uk/sport/football/1919579/portugal-cristiano-ronaldo-euro-2024