Portugal are better off without ex-Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo, according to Oliver Holt.
The Daily Mail journalist notes that, while Ronaldo should be praised for his accomplishment in scoring in five separate World Cups, his softly won penalty and subsequent conversion were his only real contribution to his side’s 3-2 win over Ghana.
Aside from that, Holt suggests, Ronaldo’s performance was on of a player living off past achievements rather than actual contribution.
It would be hardly to disagree with him, or with the cries for Rafael Leao to take Ronaldo’s place in the Selecao’s starting line-up.
The AC Milan winger scored almost immediately after his introduction and could become a cornerstone of a new Portuguese National Team, unencumbered by the compromises made necessary by the inclusion of an egomaniacal 37-year-old.
Holt believes that manager Felipe Santos would be well served by dropping the number seven were that option available to him.
Unfortunately, the media circus that would follow such a decision would certainly be all-encompassing.
How the dressing room would be affected would be another consideration, with Ronaldo clearly incapable of putting a team’s accomplishments ahead of his own.
This has been especially evident this season, with the Portugal star refusing to come on as a substitute and generally being a problematic character in response to finding himself without a guaranteed starting spot.
It seems that between his past reputation and his present petulance, Ronaldo is un-droppable, regardless of his performance levels in the here and now.
Erik ten Hag managed the situation at Manchester United well, offering the legendary goalscorer every opportunity to succeed under him while never becoming overawed of kowtowed by his stardom.
That Ronaldo is now without a club is as much to do with the decline in his ability as it is to do with his attitude.