It is claimed that there was a big change in Cristiano Ronaldo’s behavior – the reason is the strict alignment of the new coach | Sport

It is claimed that there was a big change in

European Football Championships on channels 14.6.–14.7. Go to the competition website from this link.

Ten years ago, Portugal hosted the summer 2004 European Championship finals. The competition host advanced to the finals, but succumbed to Greece, who won the championship sensationally.

Then Cristiano Ronaldo legend status was still ahead. All the twists and turns that were part of the journey of a football career awaited the teenage winger, a Sporting Lisbon graduate who had just finished his first season in the Premier League with Manchester United.

Now the 39-year-old superstar of his sport is going to his sixth European Championships as the first male player ever. Portugal is the early favorite and the hero of the Portuguese is a veteran who is deeply wanted in his country.

When Portugal faced Finland in a training match before the start of the Games, 39-year-old Ronaldo still vacationed with his family during the first week of the national team.

However, the presence of the biggest name in Portugal’s star-studded team could be felt despite his absence.

The wall of Sporting’s home stadium Estádio José Alvalade, which was the playing field, is decorated with Ronaldo’s picture. When Portugal’s entire team was introduced before the Finland match, one name naturally got the biggest applause.

Although Cristiano Ronaldo’s star has taken its own tarnish over the years, he is still his country’s biggest hero. And above all, he still feels a special burning desire to win in Portugal’s shirt.

– We have come here to win, not to vacation, he says in the Uefa Kisahaastateltu.

Still a credit guy

Portugal’s European Championship team is one of the toughest in its competition history. Master favorites have several world-class players for each playing position and there are plenty of options for its composition. There have also been young and hungry attackers eager to challenge Ronaldo.

Moved to the helm of the Portuguese national team in January 2023 Roberto Martinez has still trusted the experienced goaltender. Under Martinez, Ronaldo played in nine of Portugal’s ten qualifying games in the EC qualifiers. He missed one game due to suspension.

Ronaldo himself at least feels that he has prepared well for this tournament as well, although according to him it is just “one tournament among others”.

– Me and the entire national team have prepared for this mentally and physically. For me, this kind of value tournament is just one among others. It is a privilege for me to represent Portugal and our aim is to win the tournament.

– I am also proud to be the first player to play in his sixth EC tournament. I’m excited about it, because it shows the longevity of my career. In any case, it’s just a small demonstration of what I’ve achieved in football, Ronaldo says before the start of the tournament.

The talks are different from before the last World Cup, where Ronaldo boasted about his desire to show off during his difficult Premier League season. However, that trip ended in the quarterfinals and tears, when Morocco knocked Portugal out of the next round.

Something has changed, at least according to Portuguese sources. The Relevo publication reported before the start of the Portuguese Games in his article based on internal sources of the national team, that Ronaldo has become more open.

– His teammates say that he is different and more open these days. He is closer with others when eating or during breaks, he is more social.

One of the reasons cited in Relevo’s article is that the entourage traveling with Ronaldo is not staying with the star, at least this time, but due to head coach Martinez’s demands elsewhere.

Level meter competitions

Cristiano Ronaldo’s impact on the footballing world has been permanent.

Paint ventilations constantly imitated by children around the world. Diversions that are constantly being copied. The way he wears his game socks or plays in a long-sleeved shirt. There are many signs he left behind.

One clear effect was seen in December 2022. The Portuguese moved to play for Al-Nassr in the Saudi Arabian premier league. The club pays him the highest salary ever seen in the footballing world, 200 million euros per year, when various sponsorship agreements are added to the basic salary.

When Ronaldo went ahead, the star players followed.

The flow of players to Saudi Arabia has calmed down a bit, but now for the first time in the European Championships we will see a real level gauge for the players playing in its series. In particular, of course, the eyes turn to Cristiano Ronaldo, who is the biggest star in the series at the age of 39.

Many experts have also questioned before the Games how playing in Saudi Arabia affects the game. In a series that has experienced a sudden rise, the level differences between players and teams are large.

– We do not make decisions about inclusion in the team based on where each one plays, said Portugal’s head coach Roberto Martinez at the announcement of his team.

Ronaldo scored 35 league goals in the completed league season. The crowd was equally colored by commotion, such as an ugly gesture directed at a supporter after the supporter yelled at him Lionel Messi’s name.

Which version of Ronaldo will be seen?

Ronaldo has a chance to become the all-time top scorer in the European Championships, if he succeeds in scoring.

So far, in the games dominated by young stars, he has the opportunity to bury the ghosts of the last World Cup by doing what he likes, i.e. scoring goals. As one of the crowns of his career, he wants to lead Portugal to another European Championship gold.

After the years in Saudi Arabia, it will be interesting to see which “version” of Ronaldo is seen in Germany. Over the years, the Portuguese has been able to change his way of playing and adapt to the demands.

– Adaptation has guaranteed me the ability to play either on the wing or in the middle. As I have said, professional soccer players must be able to play in different environments or formations, he emphasizes.

– Age also plays a role, when I was young I was just a clean dock. Now I’m the top. These roles require different skills. When you can understand such a thing, your body can also get used to the high level of demands at the same time, Ronaldo said.

– It does not apply to me, but also to other players who are at their peak when they are over 35 years old. That in itself is a gift. Every such player has the ability and intelligence to adapt to the demands of the real world and football.

Now Ronaldo has to show that he can adapt from the Saudi Arabian series to the demands of the European Championships. The expectations are quite high, after all, we are talking about Cristiano Ronaldo.

The last teams of the European Championship will start their matches on Tuesday, when the F group matches will be played. At 19:00 Turkey-Georgia and at 22:00 Portugal-Czech Republic.

European Football Championships on channels 14.6.–14.7. Go to the competition website from this link.