Not many teams, club or international, have had much luck even slowing down Cristiano Ronaldo in 2018. But the Netherlands did that and more on Monday as they held the star attacker to one of his worst performances of the season in a 3-0 win over Portugal.
The Oranje ran rampant in the friendly at the Stade de Geneve, with Memphis Depay, Ryan Babel and Virgil van Dijk finding the back of the net in the victory.
The Dutch back line of Van Dijk, Matthijs De Ligt and Nathan Ake faced the unenviable task of trying to contain Ronaldo, who not only entered having scored in nine straight games, but had picked up at least a double in seven of those contests.
Egypt had thought they had held the superstar last Friday, only for Ronaldo to break through with a pair of goals in stoppage time for a 2-1 Portugal win.
But that would not be the case today as Ronaldo lasted just 68 minutes in a dominant win for the Netherlands, not looking anything like the team that failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
Not only was Ronaldo held without a goal for the first time since February 3 against Levante, he was held without a shot against the Netherlands. That was the first time Ronaldo has been kept without a shot for club or country all season long.
Instead of suffering at the hands of a player who had bagged 19 goals in his last nine games, and 23 in his last 12 matches, it was the Dutch defence that found joy on both ends of the field.
Not only did Van Dijk net the Netherlands third goal, but De Ligt picked up assists on his team’s second and third goals in the contest.
0 - In the friendly vs The Netherlands, Cristiano Ronaldo hasn't completed a shot in a single game for the first time this season in all competitions between Real Madrid & Portugal. Formality pic.twitter.com/KPL75AfSZS— OptaJose (@OptaJose) March 26, 2018
While it will surely be a night to build upon for Ronald Koeman’s side, it is likely a small consolation for the Netherlands as they look to recover from missing out on the World Cup for the first time since the 1984 tournament.
Meanwhile it will be a warning shot for Portugal that they need to up their game ahead of the tournament in Russia this summer. The reigning European champions are in Group B alongside Iran, Morocco and Iberian rivals Spain.