Maradona feels Gareth Bale has been better than Cristiano Ronaldo at Euro 2016
Diego Maradona, the Argentinian World Cup winning legend has stated that he believes Garth Bale has outperformed his Real Madrid teammate, Cristiano Ronaldo in the ongoing European Championships. The two Real Madrid teammates go head to head in tonight’s semi-final Euro 2016 clash between Wales and Portugal, and while the match remains a thoroughly intriguing battle between two teams that weren’t expected to make it this deep into the tournament, a considerable amount of focus will be on Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The fact that they are the two most expensive players ever in World football also adds to the hype of course.
“This will also be a clash between the left and right flanks of Real Madrid,” Maradona wrote in a column for the Times of India.
“It's a team game, where you do look up to individuals like Ronaldo and Bale, if you have them. Ball control, speed and shooting make them special.
“Their contributions will always be crucial because they can create that decisive moment. So far, Bale has contributed more to his team's progress than Portugal have got from Ronaldo.”
Bale has been an instrumental figure in Wales fantastic campaign, scoring 3 crucial goals and proving a consistent attacking force in all the matches Wales have played so far. Ronaldo, by comparison, has struggled to impose himself in any of Portugal’s games at Euro 2016, barring a significant performance against Hungary that was crucial in helping them qualify for the knockout stages.
Maradona added: "It would have amused many before the tournament, had they been told about a Wales versus Portugal semi-final. Quarter-finalists in their only World Cup appearance in 1958, the Red Dragons have looked like anything but novices in their first Euro finals.
"All European teams have a sense of positional discipline and Wales is no exception. Chris Coleman's boys have adapted well to the modern 3-5-2 formation. Blessed with a dash of talent up front, they prefer creating chances on the break.
"Average in comparison against others in the last four, Portugal have taken the difficult route and are still to win in regulation time after five matches. But they have displayed tactical maturity in a 4-1-3-2 system in reaching this stage for the fourth time in five editions since 2000.
"With the talisman [Ronaldo] largely off-colour, the rest have made up for it by playing for each other, an invaluable trait in major knockouts.
Maradona went on to write that he believed Wales have the edge in the semi-final, but Ronaldo could still be decisive.
"Coming this far without too much from their star shows Portugal's strength in unity. Young Renato Sanches has belied age to become a massive presence in midfield, with Pepe providing solidity at the back. It's difficult to pick favourites at this stage, but Wales start with an edge. But individual spark often becomes decisive. Portugal have someone capable of providing that. At 31, he would be wondering if this is his last shot at international glory."