Euro 2016: Cristiano Ronaldo feels Wayne Rooney can lead England to glory
Portugal and Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo praised England captain Wayne Rooney for his skills on the pitch and added that the 30-year-old can lead his team to glory at the Euro 2016. The former Manchester United man also highlighted that it would be very emotional if his side went head to head with the Three Lions. Rooney and Ronaldo have a protracted history, not just from their partnership at Manchester United, but also from a series of fiery matches contested between England and Portugal over the years.
England are set to kick off their Euro campaign with a match against Russia in Marseille and Ronaldo is anticipating a meet up with his old teammate in the knockout rounds of the tournament. “A match against England would be very emotive for me – because of Wayne Rooney and because of many other things too. Roo(ney) is now a leader and that’s not a surprise. I was always convinced that he would be a star for England and, inevitably, captain one day. It’s a perfect role for him after the era of Beckham and Terry. For me, the character and pride of Rooney are unique, he’s still very important for England,” he was quoted as saying by Daily Mail.
Portugal will begin their campaign in Group F on June 14 with a match against Iceland, and Ronaldo reiterates that he is fully focussed on the opening game. The 31-year-old is coming into the tournament on the back of a prolific campaign for Real Madrid having scored 51 goals for Los Blancos, which helped them claim La Undecima.
The three-time Ballon d’Or winner said that he had been watching some of England’s games and is convinced that they have the potential to win the tournament. He further added that England’s squad, owing to its young players, had improved a lot over the years. Ronaldo picked out Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane to drive home his point on how their lineup has the best attackers from the English Premier League.
Though Portugal have a relatively easy group with Austria, Iceland, and Hungary, which makes them the favourites to qualify for the knockouts, Ronaldo claimed that the group stage is always tough and everyone will have to perform extremely well to progress to the second round.
“It doesn’t matter what people say, the opening group is always tough. The Press may say we are favourites, but that’s normal. Our first objective is just to make sure we get to the second phase,” he said.