Lineker admits Cristiano Ronaldo a ‘weakness’ for Portugal as Bruno Fernandes faces ‘impossible’ task

Will Ford
Ronaldo being Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo made it all about him for Portugal.

Gary Lineker admits Cristiano Ronaldo is a “weakness” for Portugal and claims Bruno Fernandes faces an “impossible” task alongside the Portugal captain.

Ronaldo produced the most arrogant display in football history as Portugal squeezed through to the quarter-finals of Euro 2024 with a penalty shootout win over Slovenia on Monday.

Other options for Portugal

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star scored the opening spot kick in the shootout but only after he had seen a penalty saved in extra time by Jan Oblak, having made the game all about him.

Ronaldo blazed one free-kick from an impossible angle high and wide while superior set piece takers – namely Fernandes – stood and watched.

Lineker, Alan Shearer and Micah Richards agree it is time for Ronaldo to hand over some responsibility, though admit it won’t be easy for Fernandes or others to wrestle it from him.

“He’s got team-mates who are brilliant at free-kicks,” pointed out Shearer on The Rest Is Football podcast. Richards added: “It is hard say to Ronaldo, ‘I’m taking free-kicks’.”

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An ‘impossible’ task

Regarding Ronaldo’s poor recent free-kick record, Lineker agreed: “It is almost impossible, despite the fact his record is something like one in 60 that he’s scored in tournaments.

“Bruno Fernandes is a better free-kick taker and a more varied free-kick taker than Ronaldo. So while he’s [Ronaldo] a massive strength, he can also be a weakness as well.

“Nothing against Cristiano because what an unbelievable player. I was watching him and his movement in the box is absolutely perfect. He does it better than anybody else I’ve ever seen as a nine, the way he goes forward one way, then the other way. He does it with a sharpness.

“It’s more the ego side of him which is more of a weakness, probably for himself, Portugal and [head coach] Roberto [Martinez].

“As a manager, you know you’ve got someone whose powers are waning and he’s 39, but he’s still Cristiano Ronaldo. He’s a superstar. He is almost the most famous person on the planet, not just as a footballer.”