"When you don't have the ball, what's Ronaldo going to do?" – Ex-Arsenal star highlights 'problem' with Cristiano Ronaldo in Portugal XI for Euro 2024

Cristiano Ronaldo is set to play in his sixth UEFA Euro tournament this month.
Cristiano Ronaldo is set to play in his sixth UEFA Euro tournament this month.

Ex-Arsenal midfielder Stewart Robson has expressed his concerns about Cristiano Ronaldo potentially starting for his national team, Portugal, in the UEFA Euro 2024.

Earlier on Tuesday (June 11), the Al-Nassr striker helped Portugal beat Republic of Ireland 3-0 in a friendly clash in Aveiro. The 39-year-old scored his first of the night in the 50th minute before bagging another at the hour mark, taking his international goal tally to 130.

During a recent interaction on ESPN FC, Robson stated that Ronaldo could prove to be a burden for Portugal should he start at the Euro 2024 in Germany. He said:

"I think he will start [for Portugal at UEFA Euro 2024]. Not as the only player up front [though]... against Ireland, he had [Rafael] Leao and Joao Felix alongside him. The problem is when you don't have the ball, what's Ronaldo going to do then?"

Robson, who played 162 times for Arsenal during his career, added:

"Are you going to tell him to just stand up front and don't do anything defensively? If the team are playing well and they have a good game plan, [this strategy] can work for him. He certainly hasn't lost his technique, hasn't lost his ability to score goals either."

Revealing why the attacker could be a weak link, Robson concluded:

"But he's lost his athleticism. So, he can't make runs in behind so many times, he will not be able to win so many balls in the air like he used to. It's going to be a big decision by the manager. When they are defending deep, they can't rely on the counter-attack because Ronaldo can't run in behind. Roberto Martinez will have to even take him off after 60 minutes if things aren't going well for Portugal."

Cristiano Ronaldo reveals his Euro dream

At a post-match press conference, Cristiano Ronaldo claimed that representing his national team at the age of 39 is a special reward for him. The former Manchester United man said (h/t ESPN):

"I know I don't have many years of football left. It's a gift to play year after year, after 35. I'm 39 and every year is about enjoying [myself]. To score for the national team is special. The national team is the love of my life, winning the Euros would be a dream."

Last season, the striker scored 44 goals and laid out 13 assists in 45 appearances across competitions for Saudi Pro League side Al-Nassr.

He will be aiming to guide Portugal to their second UEFA Euro win this year after advancing to the knockout stages from Group F this month.

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Edited by Debkalpa Banerjee
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