Portugal has had an extremely disappointing EURO 2016 tournament to this point, and it all starts with its star, Cristiano Ronaldo. Following a 1-1 draw against Iceland in their tournament opener, Portugal could only manage a scoreless draw with Austria in their second match and now face a must-win situation in the final match of group play against Hungary, who currently lead Group F with four points.
Overall, the Portuguese side rank fourth in the entire tournament completing 89 percent of their passes, second in possession with 62 percent, and tied for third with 50 total shots, but despite all of those dominant statistics, the team hasn’t been able to produce but one goal.
For years, Portugal has been looked at as “Cristiano Ronaldo and not much else,” but this Euro 2016 team was judged by many to be the best squad the country has had in a while and was expected to have some real success in this tournament. Some even believed that Ronaldo could lead Portugal to its first-ever major tournament title in EURO 2016.
To this point, Cristiano hasn’t looked anywhere close to the top player in the world. Ronaldo has taken seven shots total, put five on target, and had one hit the woodwork. He also missed a penalty shot against Austria and has had 10 shots blocked through two games which leads the tournament.
Why hasn’t Cristiano Ronaldo scored for Portugal at Euro 2016 yet?
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 21, 2016
The pressure seems to be mounting for Ronaldo, as he was approached by a journalist yesterday and asked about his team’s upcoming match against Hungary. Instead of answering questions, Cristiano ripped the reporter’s microphone from his grip and chucked it into a lake, as posted by Daily Mail.
This incident comes one week after Ronaldo was upset with the way Iceland celebrated its 1-1 draw with Portugal. Following the game, Cristiano had this to say about his team’s opponents.
“Iceland didn’t try anything,” whined Ronaldo. “They were just defend, defend, defend and playing on the counterattack. It was a lucky night for them. We should have three points but we are OK. I thought they’d won the Euros the way they celebrated at the end. It was unbelievable. When they don’t try to play and just defend, defend, defend, this in my opinion shows a small mentality and they are not going to do anything in the competition.”
At 31 years old, it seems as if Ronaldo realizes that EURO 2016 might be one of his last chances to bring a major title to his national team. He’s won many individual and team trophies with his clubs, but Cristiano has yet to bring a trophy home for his country, and it seems he’s putting immense pressure on himself to accomplish that one elusive goal.
— Bleacher Report UK (@br_uk) June 21, 2016
Last month, in an interview posted on Mirror, Ronaldo said Portugal will win major tournaments, even if it’s without him.
“If it happened, it’s because God willed it, and we have to think about the future: that the future of the national team will be positive and Portugal will win big things, like a European Championship or a World Cup.”
While speaking about the bright future he sees for his country, Cristiano Ronaldo also brought up the disappointment of losing the 2004 EURO final to Greece, a tournament in which Portugal hosted on its own soil.
“That (the 2004 final) was a difficult moment, because losing a match, especially in Portugal, against Greece – we knew we had a unique opportunity to become European champions,” Ronaldo said. “But that’s a part of football. Football has taught me a lot of things: nothing is certain.”
Wednesday’s match against Hungary suddenly becomes one of the most important times of Ronaldo’s career. If he’s the best player in the world like he thinks he is, then Cristiano Ronaldo must step up and deliver for his home country.
[Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images]