Fernandes: Ronaldo focused on team, not himself

Bruno Fernandes has said his Portugal teammate Cristiano Ronaldo is only interested in the success of the team rather than personal achievements.

Ronaldo is yet to score at Euro 2024 and has received some criticism that he’s only happy when he gets a goal himself.

Despite not finding the net in Germany, the 39-year-old laid on a goal for Fernandes in the 3-0 win over Turkey in the group stage and the Manchester United midfielder said it shows Ronaldo puts Portugal above his own statistics.

“For Cristiano Ronaldo, the most important thing is for the team to succeed,” Fernandes told a news conference on Sunday. “For him [passing to Fernandes against Turkey] was the best decision at the moment but if he had taken a shot, we would have had the same result.”

Ronaldo is set to start Portugal’s round-of-16 clash against Slovenia in Frankfurt on Monday, two years after he was sensationally dropped by then manager Fernando Santos for the knockout tie against Switzerland at the 2022 World Cup.

Portugal are strong favourites to win, although Slovenia beat Roberto Martinez’s team 2-0 in a friendly in March.

“It’s do or die,” Martinez said. “It’s not easy to play at a Euros but we are prepared. Slovenia are very well organised and competitive and we need to be at our best. This tournament starts now. Portugal is fresh and we’re ready.”

Fernandes, meanwhile, warned Portugal that they would need to “be on their toes” if they wanted to reach the quarterfinals after losing to Slovenia so recently.

“We want to win every single game so that means reaching the final and winning the final,” Fernandes said.

“No team wants to go home early, least of all Portugal because we are aware of our quality. We had a friendly when they beat us and this needs to put us on our toes. They had a great defence but we need to find solutions.”

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