‘He’s a high-maintenance pest for Portugal’: Martin Samuel insists Cristiano Ronaldo is no longer fuss-worthy after losing ‘ability to deliver’ on today’s biggest stage of World Cup secrets
Martin Samuel believes Cristiano Ronaldo is a ‘high maintenance pest’ that Portugal no longer need in their squad.
Fernando Santos’ side begin their World Cup campaign on Thursday when they take on Ghana in Group H at 4pm (GMT).
Samuel insists that Ronaldo, who is Portugal’s captain and their all-time record goalscorer with 117 goals, is indeed hindering his national team’s progress and is not worth all the trouble.
Martin Samuel claims Cristiano Ronaldo is the ‘pest’ Portugal no longer need
Samuel discusses Ronaldo’s role for his national team in the latest World Cup Secrets
The Daily Mail’s chief sports writer Martin Samuel was speaking as part of SportsMail and MailPlus’ daily videocast ‘World Cup Confidential’. It appears on MailOnline every morning of the tournament and can be found on our YouTube channel.
In a conversation with Sportsmail colleagues Ian Ladyman, Rob Draper and Matt Barlow, Samuel expressed his doubts about Ronaldo, who has been a key player for Portugal since his debut in 2003 – but has struggled for form this year, scoring in just seven internationals. twice
He also failed to make an impact for Manchester United, scoring one goal in 10 Premier League games this season before announcing he was leaving Manchester United by mutual consent following his explosive interview with Piers Morgan last week.
Samuel said: ‘He’s always been worth a fight but I’m not sure he’s worth a fight now.
‘He’s become a high-maintenance pest as opposed to a high-maintenance player who’s worth it.
‘Today, I think it’s the biggest story in the World Cup by a mile. The man who United just sacked – sacked!
‘Not sold but United sacked him and he has the world looking up to him today. What is he going to do? How is he going to act?
The forward is preparing for Portugal’s World Cup opener with Ghana on Thursday afternoon
Ronaldo has scored more international goals than any player for Portugal with 117 strikes
‘Their opponents are also good today – they are not playing a team that Portugal will expect to easily overturn – Ronaldo was an incredible piece of theater in the spotlight today.’
Ronaldo’s 117 goals in 191 caps means he has made more international appearances and scored more international goals than any player in Europe.
However, Samuel insists the forward’s dip in form over the past year means the negatives of keeping him in the team now outweigh the positives.
He said: ‘He usually delivers on the spotlight. The thing that has changed – his ability to deliver has changed over the last 12-18 months or so.
‘He was always worth the trouble because the guy just scored goals for you and you won the league, the Champions League and now that’s changed.
‘You’ve got a lot of aggro and no gravy!’
Manchester United announced on Tuesday that Ronaldo had left the club by mutual consent
Samuel’s fellow Sportsmail writers then debated whether Ronaldo deserved to be in the squad, with Ladyman claiming the forward was ‘worth the trouble’ but Barlow and Draper disagreed.
Barlow said: ‘Not anymore. I’ve seen a lot of Portugal at the Euros and I think he stifles other players in the team.’
Draper added: ‘I don’t think he’s ready for modern football at this age.’