Cristiano Ronaldo "couldn't sleep" after he missed decisive penalty against Austria, reveals coach
The Portuguese legend made his 128th international appearance in the Portugal vs Austria Euro 2016 Group F fixture, where his nation struggled badly. As the game wound down, the Portuguese all-time top scorer (58 goals) looked set to save his country with a 59th goal from the penalty spot in the 78th minute. Incredibly, the man who scored 51 goals on the way to a Champions League title with Real Madrid this season smacked the post as he missed again. With 19 shots but 0 goals in this tournament, the European club champion is badly faltering in his bid to hold the international title at the same time.
Fernando Santos (the Portuguese coach) revealed the extent of his captain’s malaise after an agonizing stalemate. "Cristiano hasn't been able to sleep," said Portuguese boss Santos. "On Sunday I was one of the first to wake up and he was already awake.” Ronaldo is well-known for his perfectionist ways - such a poor game was bound to hurt. "Cristiano is Portugal captain and we can't expect everything to fall into place at once”. In Portugal’s last match – against toppers Hungary – anything less than a victory would leave them fighting to exit the group stages. Failure to win it would result in their worst performance in 24 years at the European finals!
However, with 5 goals en route to topping their Euro 2016 qualification group, Fernando Santos knows how important his captain is. "He can go one or two games without scoring but afterwards he comes back scoring five goals, like he has done on other occasions." Cristiano Ronaldo piled extra pressure upon himself and his team with some poorly-timed comments after the Icelanders held his team to a draw. The former Sporting manager has already had to make do without Ronaldo - which earned him the sack in 2003/2004, after then 18-yr old Ronaldo left for Manchester United. Sporting CP could only finish 3rd without their young rising star.
With Portugal performing even worse than the Icelandic debutants this summer, he could be close to unemployment again. The Portugal coach is confident that with the 3-time Balon D’Or winner in his team however, that won’t happen. "He's a winner and his experience will help him bounce back.”
For the sake of Portuguese fans and players, let’s hope he’s right.