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Cristiano Ronaldo

'He's not answered my calls' - Neville reveals Ronaldo is still blanking him but insists World Cup 'needs' superstars like CR7, Messi & Mbappe

4:29 am AEDT 29/11/22
Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal 2022
Gary Neville joked that Cristiano Ronaldo has taken his criticism to heart, but stressed the importance of having "big stars" at the World Cup.
  • Neville critical of Ronaldo's comments
  • Jokes that forward hasn't answered calls
  • Underlined importance of having stars at WC

WHAT HAPPENED? Neville became one of Ronaldo's more vehement critics after the Portuguese's comments against Man Utd saw the forward's contract terminated. The ex-United and England defender joked that the Portugal captain has been blanking him ever since, after Ronaldo ignored the pundit during a Premier League match recently, although was quick to highlight that the World Cup still needs players of his quality. Neville also feels that Ronaldo's mentality could help Portugal go far in the tournament.

WHAT THEY SAID: "He's not answered my calls, no – I don't think anyone is out here," he joked to ITV. "Look, [Ronaldo's] responded to criticism, he's not liked what happened in Manchester, he feels as though people have turned on him. We need Ronaldo, Messi and Mbappe, all the big stars coming to a head in this tournament because something's going to have to give at some point.

"They're a good team, Portugal and they've got a man up front with a monster mentality. He'll believe that this is is their moment. He'll think he's winning this World cup, he'll be believe that and that will transmit to his team-mates. Nothing would surprise me in this tournament from him."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: With Ronaldo now out of United after the two parted ways by mutual consent, rumours have started to circulate over the 37-year-old's next destination. Saudi Arabia appeared to be the early front runners with rumours of a mega-deal rumoured soon after the forward's exit, although any decision on the player's future will likely take place after the World Cup.

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DID YOU KNOW? All eight of Ronaldo's World Cup goals - spanning across a record of five separate tournaments - have been in the group stages of the competition.

WHAT NEXT FOR RONALDO? With rumours at club level continuing to circulate, Ronaldo will be aiming to keep focused on international matters in Qatar. A win for Portugal against Uruguay on Monday will seal his side's place in the last 16.