Ronaldo not comfortable as a striker, claims Bento

The Portugal coach defends his decision not to field the Real Madrid superstar in a central attacking role as the Seleccao exited World Cup 2014 at the group stage
Portugal boss Paulo Bento claims that Cristiano Ronaldo is not comfortable playing as a centre forward and would not have salvaged the Seleccao's World Cup there.

The 29-year-old could not prevent his side from being dumped out at the group stage as Germany and United States progressed ahead of them from Group G.

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There had been suggestions that the Real Madrid star should have been deployed as an out-and-out striker, especially given injuries to Hugo Almeida and Helder Postiga, but Bento has doubts over whether he would have been suitable away from the wing.

"I never thought of Ronaldo as the spearhead; it was not on my mind to put Ronaldo as the only centre forward since the beginning of the tournament," he told TV1.

"I think it's not the best for his goal tally and for the team. We talked about it, of course. He did not seem to feel comfortable in that position but it was not necessary for him to tell me that."

The skipper was a major injury concern ahead of the World Cup and did not look at full fitness in all three games but Bento insists that the Ballon d'Or holder would not have been risked had he not proven himself in training in Brazil.

"When he reached the training camp he was not at 100 per cent but then he was able to train and play," the Seleccao boss added.

"He played with great effort and sacrifice and he was medically fit - he would not have played otherwise. There was not any pressure to speed his recovery."