Cristiano Ronaldo has spoken of his happiness in helping Portugal qualify for next summer’s European Championships which will be the evergreen forward’s fifth.
The Juventus forward scored his 99th international goal when he tapped home Portugal’s second and final goal against Luxembourg, a result which ensured that they would be able to defend their title as Europe’s elite international side.
Although he was happy with the result, the 34-year-old was scathing of the surface at the Stade Josy Barthel.
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“It is always important and a proud occasion to represent the national team, and scoring goals that helped us qualify,” he said after the game.
“We had two games we had to win. I am very happy that we won, and qualified for my fifth European Championships.
“It’s difficult to play on these types of fields, a potato field. I don’t know how it’s possible for teams at this level to play on fields of this quality.
“The performance wasn’t beautiful, but we did our job. It was the pitch we had to play and, and we won 2-0, which was our priority.”
Now qualification is secured, attention can switch to next summer’s tournament. Ronaldo refused to label Portugal as favourites, despite being holders.
“There is a long season [between now and the summer] and many players will grow,” he added.
“The Euros are only a few months away and the candidates to win are always the same.
“We aren’t favourites because we won in 2016, let’s go there and try and win again. Everyone else is a favourite.”
The former Real Madrid man says he isn’t fussed how his 100th international goal comes, and also addressed a comment by Danilo, suggesting Ronaldo said he’d have won Brazil five more World Cups.
“I am proud to be Portuguese, I didn’t trade my nationality. I’m glad [Danilo] said that, Brazil is one of the best teams ever, and Portugal isn’t in the top three, but we can beat them.
“The 100th goal will come naturally. All the records I’ve been beating are there to be beaten, but it will happen in a natural way.”
Ronaldo will not play for his national team again until March, when they start preparing to defend their title.