footballCristiano Ronaldo was not at the base in Portugal, yesterday, in the Nations League match in Spain (1-1). This is rare. Very rare, even. A “tactical decision”, as the national team coach Fernando Santos calls it. A decision that the Spanish media only moderately appreciates…
It was a somewhat unusual sight: Cristiano Ronaldo singing the Portuguese national anthem from the sofa. So he was no less fanatical and the smile was never far away during the warm-up at Stadio Benito Villamarin, but sure enough he was a bit of a squeeze with CR7 as he was overlooked before setting up against Spain. Fitness Trainer. After all, this only happened for the second time in fourteen years. The last time this happened was on October 7, 2017, in a 2-0 World Cup qualifying match against Andorra. Then he came and scored, but that didn’t work against Spain.
A technical and tactical decision. It seemed to us the best option for the way we wanted to approach the match.
In any case, Fernando Santos was allowed to explain why he’s skipped his absolute star player, 37 in the meantime. “I thought it was best to start this match with the players you already started,” said Fernando Santos, explaining his selection for the Leão-André Silva-Otavinho Trident. A technically and tactically driven decision. It seemed like the best option for us, in terms of how we wanted to approach the match. It has nothing to do with Cristiano’s qualities – they are not in question. There are times when you have to do things differently. We thought he could play an important role in the second half.”
Cristiano Ronaldo also came in effectively, but Ricardo Horta – another substitute – was able to save a point for the Portuguese at the end of the match. He punished the weak defense with the Spaniards after Morata was the last stop in the first half after facing Amiriya, which was put together by the superb Gavi and Sarabia. In the other group match, the Czechs beat Switzerland 2-1. The Czechs lead the dance of Spain and Portugal one day after the match. On Sunday, Spain heads to the Czech Republic, while Portugal hosts Switzerland.
It remains to be seen if Santos will do so with the CR7 at the base. He responded after the match by posting on Instagram, but he did so in a very discreet manner. “The Nations League is a competition that will be forever linked to our national team because we were the first to win it. Our start in this edition, with an important draw in Spain, renews that ambition. As always, the same thing that moves and unites us at all times: a win for Portugal! “It seemed ambitious.
There has also been a lot of surprise in the Spanish media – more specifically in the Madrid-oriented newspapers – about Ronaldo’s place on the bench. “Ronaldo on the bench gave the game an unnatural atmosphere, as if we were in a bar without beer,” Marca wrote. “Fernando Santos mocked him. It took Real Madrid four years to figure out how to play without Ronaldo.”
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