The 1990 World Cup winner says the Real Madrid star did not turn up in the Group B opener and that praise for the Mannschaft defence was greatly exaggeratedEXCLUSIVE
By Maximilian Bensinger
Former Germany winger Pierre Littbarski has accused Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo of failing to live up to his reputation in national team colours in the aftermath of the Seleccao's 1-0 defeat to Germany.
The 27-year-old endured a largely frustrating evening against Joachim Low's side as he was pinned back by Jerome Boateng and struggled to exert any real influence on proceedings.
While Littbarski may have a point about Ronaldo's tendency to underperform for his country I think it is important to contextualize that performance, both from a Portugese and German perspective. Portugal were very stretched and Ronaldo had little support when one on one with Boateng and to expect him to win games on his own is unrealistic in the pressure cooker of a tournament like this.
That said, Boateng was positionally disciplined, held back from attacking and always stayed close to his marker which is never easy to do against an explosive player like Ronaldo. Littbarski was one of the best dribblers in his days so his standards are certainly high but his comments may have been a bit impetuous.
"Ronaldo did nothing," he told Goal.com. "Look at him playing for Real Madrid.
"Everybody's talking that Boateng had a great game. He wasn’t so good that he took Ronaldo out of the match.
"Ronaldo simply did not perform again in an important match for his country. He was disappointing and our players get the praise for that. I do not like that."
Looking ahead to die Mannschaft's hotly-anticipated clash with Netherlands in Kharkiv, Littbarski said that it was difficult to predict how the Dutch would line up after their shock loss to Denmark.
"The biggest problem will be that you don’t know how Holland are going to play," he noted. "They could field two strikers or play with [Rafael] van der Vaart and [Wesley] Sneijder. You don’t know what to expect.
"If Netherlands had beaten Denmark, it would be easier for Germany."
Bert van Marwijk's side will attempt to bounce back against Germany at 20:45CET on Wednesday.