Cristiano Ronaldo to get the Lionel Messi treatment?

 

Cristiano Ronaldo is being backed to get the Lionel Messi treatment at Euro 2024, with the Portuguese superstar “loved” by his team-mates.

While Messi inspired Argentina to World Cup glory in 2022, those around him helped to carry the load when it comes to hard running and tracking back. Portugal are expected to do the same when it comes to guiding Ronaldo through the 11th major tournament of his quite remarkable career.

Former France international William Gallas – who faced Ronaldo during his time in the Premier League at Chelsea and Arsenal – has told Prime Casino of CR7 getting the same support as eternal rival Messi: “You could say that this is probably his last European Championship. He’s got a manager that is completely behind him. Everyone knows that, physically, he’s not the same player that he was when he was younger, but that won’t matter. I think the team will be set-up to offset that. All of the players will be covering his ground because they love him in that squad. I expect his style to be similar to what we saw of Messi at the last World Cup in Qatar. All his team-mates were running for him, and I think it will be the same story with Portugal here, with Ronaldo lifting the trophy in Berlin. This Portugal team is really scary and my tip as the team to beat if you want to win EURO 2024.”

Ronaldo was benched at times by Fernando Santos during Portugal’s run to the quarter-finals of Qatar 2022, but Gallas expects the all-time great to be better managed by his current coach. The Frenchman added: “Roberto Martinez will handle Cristiano Ronaldo really well. He knows what happened at the last World Cup with the former manager; that won’t happen here. You can see that the relationship is different. He has created a system that allows Ronaldo to do what he does best while removing his defensive duties. Martinez is totally behind Ronaldo. He knows that when you have a player as talented as Ronaldo, regardless of how old he is, he has to play. You must keep Ronaldo on the pitch if Portugal need a goal, because if you give him that one opportunity, he will take it. I think the other Portuguese players accept that as well.”

While questions are being asked of whether Ronaldo can handle the demands of elite competition at 39 years of age, he did plunder 50 goals for Saudi Pro League side Al-Nassr in the 2023-24 campaign and has been showing no sign of slowing down.

 

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