"It would have freed Roberto Martinez" - Pundit believes Portugal should have left Cristiano Ronaldo out of the squad for Euro 2024

Ale Moreno believes that Cristiano Ronaldo should have been dropped from the Portugal squad
Ale Moreno believes that Cristiano Ronaldo should have been dropped from the Portugal squad

After Portugal's friendly 1-2 loss to Croatia on June 8, pundit Alejandro Moreno claimed that manager Roberto Martinez should not have named Cristiano Ronaldo in his Euro 2024 squad. The former Venezuelan forward claimed on the ESPN FC show, which has stirred up a controversy on social media.

Moreno claimed that not selecting Ronaldo at all would have freed Martinez from the hard decision of benching or starting him at the tournament. He said: (via Essentially Sports):

"If I had gone and made what would have been the courageous and brave decision and say, 'Cristiano we appreciate your efforts thank you very much but we’re going to go in a different direction,' I think it would have freed Roberto Martinez to make more decisions and to actually explore the possibilities of this team."

In the Portuguese superstar's defense, he has been in incredible form throughout the 2023-24 campaign for club and country. For Al Nassr, he netted 44 times and added 13 assists in 45 games across all competitions.

For the national side, Ronaldo bagged 10 goals and two assists in nine EURO qualifiers, as they won a perfect 10 games out of 10 to secure their spot comfortably. He is also the overall top scorer at the European Championship with 14 goals in 25 games, and led his side to glory in 2016 when they beat France 1-0 in the final.

These numbers justifiably secured his place in the Portugal squad for the sixth time at a EURO tournament, extending his own record.

Roberto Martinez has been outspoken in his support and praise for Cristiano Ronaldo

Pundit Ale Moreno might have called for Cristiano Ronaldo to be dropped from the Portugal squad altogether to save manager Roberto Martinez a selection headache.

However, the Spaniard has been outspoken in his support and praise for the 39-year-old superstar on multiple occasions. For example, in conversation with Rio Ferdinand on the Rio Ferdinand presents FIVE YouTube channel, Martinez said:

"You don't get a better example for young players than Cristiano Ronaldo, who has played 200 international games and is still the last player to leave the training pitch."

After Portugal finished their EURO qualifying campaign with a perfect 10 wins out of 10, the Spaniard had said (via Fabrizio Romano on X):

"Cristiano Ronaldo is as hungry as an 18-year-old player. He is a role model. He always tries to be in the right position and is looking for the goal."

Ahead of their 2-1 loss against Croatia (June 8), the 50-year-old explained the Al Nassr superstar's role in the team to the reporters at the pre-match press conference. He said (via TCR. on X):

"Cristiano is ready to help the team and give everything he can. No other player in the world gives the national team what Cristiano gives."

Martinez will certainly be reliant on the five-time Ballon d'Or winner to lead by example as he aims to lift the first major trophy of his Portugal tenure.

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