The World Cup has already gotten under way on Sunday with the big teams all set to begin playing from Monday. One of the favourites for this edition of the quadrennial showpiece is Portugal.
They have a strong squad with a good blend of youth and experience and they have possess one of the world’s best players in Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Manchester United superstar has been in the eye of a storm ever since his incendiary interview with Piers Morgan got broadcasted across the world.
CR7 comments hurting Portugal preparations
During the interaction, he lambasted the club for betraying him and the new manager Erik ten Hag for not respecting him. He also took pot-shots at former interim manager Ralf Rangnick and United legends Wayne Rooney and Gary Neville.
And that has spilled over on to his teammates as well. During the build-up to Portugal’s opening match, almost all national team stars have been asked for their take on the controversy.
“Please, don’t ask players about me – ask about the World Cup”. pic.twitter.com/nBbqZVX03A
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) November 21, 2022
Bernardo Silva, Ruben Neves and fellow United star Bruno Fernandes have all been asked about the 37-year-old’s infamous interview and that is leading to unnecessary distractions in the group.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner subsequently appeared unannounced during a press conference and cleared the air somewhat regarding his comments.
He also demanded that the journalists stop asking his teammates about the interview. “You can help by not talking about me. I’m completely bullet-proof and iron-clad.
“If you ask other players about Cristiano Ronaldo I would be upset. If you want to ask him about the World Cup and the team, I would like you to do that.”
CR7 denies Bruno rift
United’s No 7 was also asked about the video which emerged regarding the awkward exchange between him and his fellow United teammate Fernandes.
In a video released by the Portuguese FA, Fernandes is seen greeting all his teammates and staff quite warmly. However his greeting for Ronaldo is some way short of effusive.
“We were just playing around – we have great relations. His plane was late and I asked him, ‘Did you come by boat?’ I was goofing around. Another controversy on your end,” the former Real Madrid star clarified.
Whether these comments actually help his teammates in the long run will be there for all to see. But one cannot argue against the fact that Portugal will feel the heat when they take to the field because of their superstar’s ego and his scathing remarks.