Porto winger Ricardo Quaresma has blamed Portugal's unrealistic demands on captain Cristiano Ronaldo for the team's early elimination from the World Cup.
The Seleccao were knocked out of the tournament in Brazil at the group stages after Paulo Bento's side suffered a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Germany, a 2-2 draw against the USA and a 2-1 win in their final match against Ghana.
Real Madrid star Ronaldo was under huge pressure to deliver for his side despite struggling for full fitness, but often cut a frustrated figure throughout Portugal's games – scoring just once in the competition with his late strike in the victory over Ghana in Brasilia.
But Quaresma – who was left out of Bento's final 23-man squad despite some impressive performances for his club side last season – insisted that the nation expected too much of the Ballon d'Or winner and that the whole team were simply not good enough.
"We cannot just put pressure on Cristiano – he does not play alone. I think we Portuguese put too much pressure on just one player," he told TVI.
"The team is not just Cristiano. No player in the world can solve a game if you do not have colleagues behind him.
"I think that we Portuguese have failed [at the World Cup] because we put too much pressure on one player only.
"I think also we failed because all the other players who were next to Cristiano maybe didn't feel comfortable about everyone talking about just one player and not the rest of the squad."
Bento's task of steering Portugal into the knockout stages of the World Cup out of a tought group were made difficult by Ronaldo's knee injury problems and following the suspension of defender Pepe for his headbutt on Germany's Thomas Muller in Salvador.
When asked how injuries and suspensions had affected the team's performances in Brazil, Quaresma said: "I could speak a lot about it but it is not the right time nor am I the right person to talk. I'll leave that to the critics.
"I think everybody saw what happened with the national team."