Cristiano Ronaldo: Leboeuf blames hostage-taking


By: Manu Tournoux

Euro 2000 winner Frank Leboeuf says Portugal are a real candidate for Euro 2024 this summer, but they must first get rid of Cristiano Ronaldo who is taking him hostage.

Franck Leboeuf, famous former Chelsea player and World Cup winner with the Blues in 1998, has suggested that Portugal’s chances of winning a second European title in the space of eight years depend on the absence of Ronaldo, aged 39.

Speaking to sports betting site BetVictor, Lebeouf said: “ For me, Portugal is actually one of the candidates for this summer’s Euro. I even think they can win the Euro, but only if Cristiano Ronaldo doesn’t play. You can’t take away everything Ronaldo has done for football just because he retired to the Saudi League. I want to thank him for taking this sport to another level, but there is an end for everyone. He has every right to play in Saudi Arabia, although I’m not sure he needs even more money! I don’t see any harm in players at the end of their careers going to play in lower leagues to earn more money, that’s what happened with Lionel Messi. Both have been fantastic players but they have chosen to no longer play at the highest level and we must respect that. You can never take away what they did for football. The competition between these two has actually improved the entire sport. She made it more attractive. »

A checkered balance sheet

Ronaldo has captained Portugal in all but one of 10 Euro 2024 qualifying matches and has scored 10 times in those nine appearances. But while he has always found the net at a prolific rate in qualifying matches and friendlies, his record at major tournaments is much less good. Ronaldo has scored just once at the 2022 World Cup, failed to score in Portugal’s round of 16 elimination against Belgium at Euro 2020 and failed to find the net nets after the second group match at the 2018 World Cup.

Some even believe that Portugal won Euro 2016 despite him, rather than because of him. Now that he is 40 and playing at a club far from the elite, the case for his departure is only getting stronger. Ronaldo is one of the few players present at Euro 2004 who will still be playing in 2024. Lukas Podolski, 38, who plays for Gornik Zabrze in Poland, former Manchester City striker Valeri Bojinov, 38, who now plays in the Bulgarian lower leagues, and 37-year-old Igor Akinfeev, who is still the captain of CSKA Moscow, are the others.

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