PSG and Portugal defender Danilo has insisted the national team doesn’t revolve solely around Cristiano Ronaldo, despite his obvious influence.
- Danilo brushes off Ronaldo noise
- ‘Natural’ that focus is on 37-year-old
- Not concerned with style of play
WHAT HAPPENED? As domestic football came to a halt for the World Cup, Cristiano Ronaldo again stole headlines for delivering a damning assessment of Manchester United in a new interview. But his national team colleague Danilo has played down his role in the Portugal setup, insisting that the team operates as a whole, even with the 37-year-old’s high demands.
WHAT HE SAID: Speaking to FIFA’s official website, Danilo explained: “There will always be criticism because Cristiano is a player who sells a lot, he is a player who is talked about every day. If he’s bad, people will talk. If he’s okay, people will talk. So, we within the group see this naturally.
“It’s normal for Cristiano, being the strongest point of the national team, to have more spotlight on him, we’re going to throw more balls at him, we’re going to try to get him to score goals and he will also demand that.” He added: “It’s natural that there is this conversation because people think we play for Cristiano, but that’s not the case. We play to win games.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Despite their Nations League triumph in 2019, much has been expected of Fernando Santos’ latest batch of talented Portugal players, but little has been delivered. Ronaldo is desperate to win another major honour with his nation following the European Championship success of 2016, which many believe is becoming detrimental to the team’s performances – much like the criticism he’s faced at United.
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WHAT NEXT FOR PORTUGAL? Danilo, Ronaldo and the rest of the Portugal team kick off their tournament against Ghana on 24 November and will be expecting to comfortably escape Group H.