‘He’s a high maintenance PEST for Portugal’: MARTIN SAMUEL insists Cristiano Ronaldo is no longer worth the fuss after losing the ‘ability to deliver’ on the biggest stage in today’s WORLD CUP CONFIDENTIAL
Cristiano Ronaldo is the ‘high maintenance pest’ that Portugal no longer need in their side, believes Martin Samuel.
Fernando Santos’s team begin their World Cup campaign on Thursday when they take on Ghana at 4pm (GMT) in Group H.
Samuel insisted that Ronaldo, who is Portugal’s captain and their all-time record goalscorer with 117 goals, is in fact hindering the progress of his national team and is no longer worth all the hassle.
Martin Samuel claims that Cristiano Ronaldo is the ‘pest’ that Portugal no longer need
Samuel discussed Ronaldo’s role for his national team in the latest World Cup Confidential
Daily Mail chief sports writer Martin Samuel was speaking as part of Sportsmail and MailPlus’s daily videocast ‘World Cup Confidential’. It appears on MailOnline every morning of the tournament and can be found on our YouTube channel.
In a conversation with fellow Sportsmail colleagues Ian Ladyman, Rob Draper and Matt Barlow, Samuel expressed his doubts over Ronaldo, who has been a key player for Portugal ever since he made his debut back in 2003 – but has struggled for form this year, scoring just two times in seven international appearances.
He also failed to make an impact for Manchester United with one goal in 10 Premier League games this season, before it was announced on Tuesday that he left Manchester United by mutual consent following his explosive interview with Piers Morgan last week.
Samuel said: ‘He always was worth the fuss but I’m not sure he’s worth the fuss now.
‘He’s become a high maintenance pest as opposed to a high maintenance player who’s absolutely worth it.
‘Today, I think it is the biggest story at the World Cup by a mile. The guy that has just been sacked by United – sacked!
‘Not sold but sacked by United and he walks out today with the entire world looking at him. What is he going to do? How is he going to act?
The forward is gearing up for Portugal’s World Cup opener with Ghana on Thursday afternoon
Ronaldo has scored more international goals than any player ever with 117 strikes for Portugal
‘Their opponents are good today as well – he’s not playing a minnow team that Portugal would expect to turn over easily – Ronaldo in the spotlight today is an incredible piece of theatre.’
Ronaldo’s 117 goals in 191 caps mean he’s made more international appearances than any European player ever and scored more international goals than any player ever.
However, Samuel insisted that the forward’s decline in form over the past year means the negatives of having him in the team now outweigh the positives.
He said: ‘He usually delivers in the spotlight. That is the thing that has changed – his ability to deliver has changed in last 12-18 months or so.
‘He was always worth the trouble because the man just scored goals for you and you won the league, the Champions League and now that’s changed.
‘You’ve got a lot of the aggro and not as much of the gravy!’
Manchester United announced on Tuesday that Ronaldo had left the club by mutual consent
Samuel’s fellow Sportsmail writers then debated whether Ronaldo was worth having in the team, with Ladyman claiming the forward ‘was worth the trouble’ but Barlow and Draper disagreed.
Barlow said: ‘Not anymore. I saw quite a lot of Portugal at the Euros and I think he stifles other players in the team.’
Draper added: ‘I don’t think he’s made for modern football at this age.’