Cristiano Ronaldo.Ok, this is gonna be a long one; hear me out before you say I’m just another Cristiano hater. Do I think he’s an amazing footballer? Yes. Am I glad he plays for my national team? Absolutely. Do I think he’s the best in the world? No…but only because I don’t really understand how there can be one best player in the world for a team sport (that’s a rant for a different day).
So why do I say he gets too much credit? Because he is a symbol, not a captain. Many of you probably don’t know, don’t remember or don’t care that when he was made captain, it was as a favor to a dying man. It was symbolic, not based on his merit or his leadership ability and was never intended to be permanent. But how do you take away captaincy from someone like Cristiano Ronaldo? You don’t. If he had been mature enough to understand the magnitude of the honor he had been given, he would have worn that armband for that one game and then stepped aside, allowing it to pass to someone who was mature enough to accept the responsibility and truly lead the team. That he didn’t only proves that he could not put the needs of the team ahead of his own ego. A true leader must always put the team first. A true leader never lets his own frustration get in the way of leading the team. A true leader must be able to inspire his team to continue to fight even when there is no hope of success…as amazing a footballer as he is, these are qualities that he simply does not possess.
All that being said, I don’t think he deserves all of the criticism he gets when Portugal does not do well…he is part of the team, he’s not the whole team. But he certainly does not deserve all of the credit when Portugal wins either. Scoring goals and leading your team to victory are not the same thing.
The U-21 squad also had their first training today ahead of their final Euro qualifier on Monday. Pedro Mendes, who was injured in Saturday’s match against Maritimo B, presented with pain in his right foot and did not train with the group. He is expected to be fit for Monday’s match. Ivo Pinto also did not train today due to a delayed flight from Romania.