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Ronaldo's international team-mate Fonte admits Portugal play 'more as a team' without him

12:31 PM GMT+4 09/12/2022
Cristiano-Ronaldo
Portugal defender Jose Fonte believes the Seleccao play 'more as a team' without Cristiano Ronaldo on the pitch.
  • Fonte believes Portugal better without CR7
  • Forward might be dropped again
  • Ramos to replace him up front

WHAT HAPPENED? The forward was dropped in Portugal's 6-1 rout of Switzerland in the round of 16 and might not make the starting XI once again as his replacement Goncalo Ramos netted a stunning hat-trick on his World Cup debut. Ronaldo's international teammate Fonte, who was not called up for the showpiece event in Qatar having made the preliminary squad, believes that the team plays "fluidly" without him as the "focal point" and should continue the same way.

WHAT THEY SAID: "Portugal have the quality to do this in every game, but we have to be honest - just his presence on the field makes the players of the national team unconsciously and automatically have to play for him and always give him the ball. For being who he is, for what he has done and what he is still capable of doing.

"When he is not there, Portugal plays more as a team and that was seen (against Switzerland). They played fluidly, without a single focal point, everyone contributed and it was beautiful to see," he stated on a podcast, as quoted by A Bola.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: However, Fonte insists that Ronaldo would be a menace if he joined the action later on and would add pressure on their opponents. "You cannot teach a legend like Ronaldo. Ronaldo will always be Ronaldo and for Portugal it is even very positive to have a player like him come off the bench - it will be one more problem to cause the opponents. Fernando Santos brought a very strong mentality to the national team. The team has a great ability to defend together. And it will cause offensive problems in every game. I believe that Portugal will go to the end of the journey, the World Cup is the title we are missing. Let's keep our fingers crossed for that to happen," he added.

IN TWO PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR RONALDO? It was reported that the Portuguese talisman had a chat with manager Fernando Santos after the game where he expressed his unhappiness about being benched. However, it is unlikely that he will be handed a starting berth once again after Ramos' heroics against the Swiss.