“Only Messi fans & Ronaldo haters want him to start” - Fans say Cristiano Ronaldo shouldn't be replaced by 22-year-old at Euro 2024 after Croatia loss

Bhargav
Cristiano Ronaldo-less Portugal fell 2-1 to Croatia in a friendly on Saturday.
Cristiano Ronaldo-less Portugal fell 2-1 to Croatia in a friendly on Saturday.

Cristiano Ronaldo-less Portugal suffered a 2-1 friendly loss to Croatia on Saturday. After the defeat, fans suggested only Messi fans would want Goncalo Ramos to start ahead of Ronaldo at Euro 2024.

Ramos led the attack for Portugal, before being withdrawn at half-time, as Ronaldo remained an unused substitute in the Selecao's loss at home.

The 39-year-old has returned to the national team after a superb club campaign with Al-Nassr, scoring 44 times in 45 games across competitions, in addition to another six goals in pre-season.

Despite his scintillating form, Ronaldo did not play any part in each of Portugal's two friendly games before Euro 2024. Notably, Portugal had secured a 4-2 win over Finland in the previous game, which gave rise to claims they function better without Cristiano Ronaldo.

But the defeat to Croatia has put the spotlight back on how Portugal have to depend on Ronaldo against the best teams in the world.

Roberto Martinez's men conceded the opening goal as early as the eighth minute, when Luka Modric conveted a penalty. Diogo Jota, who replaced Ramos after his lacklustre performance, restored parity for the hosts three minutes into the second-half.

The visitors, though, had the last laugh as Ante Budimir's 56th-minute strike proved to be the winner. Speaking about Ramos' display in the defeat, one fan wrote on X:

"Aswr its only Messi fans and Ronaldo haters that want Goncalo Ramos to start ahead lf Cristiano"

Another chimed in:

"I don't ever want to hear the name Goncalo Ramos ever again."

A third responded:

"How does Goncalo Ramos get a game for Portugal? Bang average."

Similar comments followed, with Ehis Ohunyon tweeting:

"At this point, Diogo Jota is closer to becoming Ronaldo's replacement than Goncalo Ramos... That PSG move may just have done way more harm than good."

Trinds wrote on X:

"Goncalo Ramos stinker today"

Ianre, though, had a different opinion, tweeting:

"NAH Ronaldo shouldn't be starting, as he's holding star boys Felix and Goncalo Ramos back."

The loss was Portugal's second since falling 1-0 to Morocco in the 2022 FIFA World Cup quarterfinals.


Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi chasing international glory this summer

Both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are in contention to add another trophy with Portugal and Argentina, respectively this summer. Ronaldo-led Portugal will be looking to repeat their successful 2016 European Championship campaign, whereas Messi's Argentina stand a chance to retain their Copa America crown.

Cristiano Ronaldo is chasing a slew of records in the competition, including extending his streak of scoring in five straight editions and becoming the oldest goalscorer in Euro history, among others.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. face Ireland on Tuesday (June 11) before opening their UEFA Euro 2024 campaign against the Czech Republic seven days later in Leipzig.

Messi and Argentina will play friendlies against Ecuador and Guatemala before their first Copa America 2024 clash against Canada on June 20.

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