People who criticise Ronaldo don't understand football, says Man Utd star's Portugal team-mate Fernandes

Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal 2021Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal team-mate Gedson Fernandes has leapt to the defence of the national team legend, claiming that his critics do not know the first thing about football.

Ronaldo has been in mixed form as of late, and was powerless to stop Manchester United crashing out of the Champions League to Atletico Madrid.

He will be hoping for better fortunes on the international stage as Portugal face Turkey in a match vital to their hopes of making the World Cup in Qatar.

What was said?

"I can say people who say negative things about Cristiano Ronaldo do not understand football. He is a legendary name," Fernandes, who plays his club football in Turkey with Caykur Rizespor, told GOAL ahead of Thursday's play-off between the two nations.

"Everyone knows what he means for Portugal as well. The critics may only look at the numbers, but I totally disagree with these criticisms.

"He is a very valuable player. I think he will contribute to us very well in every game."

The bigger picture

Portugal had the chance to seal automatic qualification for the finals but fell in the last game of Group A to Serbia, throwing away an early lead to go down 2-1 when a draw would have seen them through.

They must now overcome two tough opponents to book their place at Qatar, or else risk missing out on the World Cup for the first time since 1998.

Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal Euro 2020

Should Ronaldo and Co. prevail against Turkey, they will advance to the final play-off round on Tuesday against the winner of the clash between Italy and Montenegro.

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At 37, this will likely be Ronaldo's final chance to win football's most prestigious trophy, having fallen short in his previous four attempts in 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018.

The ex-Real Madrid and Juventus striker's best campaign came in Germany 2006, when he netted four times to lead his nation to fourth place - their most successful World Cup effort since the days of Eusebio in the 1960s.

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