Cristiano Ronaldo cannot win a game on his own, says Portugal’s Fernando Santos

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice in Portugal's Euro 2020 opener against Hungary (AP)
17:21pm, Fri 18 Jun 2021
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Portugal head coach Fernando Santos says his side cannot rely on Cristiano Ronaldo to win matches single-handedly ahead of a tantalising Euro 2020 showdown with Germany.

Ronaldo underlined his value to his country by becoming the record goalscorer in European Championship history with 11 courtesy of a late brace in Tuesday’s 3-0 success over Hungary.

The Portuguese dominated that Group F encounter in Budapest but only secured victory after striking three times in the final seven minutes.

Fernando Santos guided Portugal to glory at Euro 2016 (AP)

Three-time tournament winners Germany will provide a much sterner test of the reigning champions’ credentials on Saturday evening in Munich.

While Santos is delighted to have 36-year-old Juventus forward Ronaldo at his disposal, he is eager to ensure his entire squad remain ready to contribute.

“I have to motivate every single player, not just Ronaldo for instance. Portugal’s value is based on our team,” Santos told a press conference.

“It’s great to have Ronaldo on our side, we’re very proud to have him but Cristiano alone cannot win a match.

“We will want everyone to be motivated: the starting 11 and those who are brought on.

“It’s important to be motivated but also focused. The will to win is very important, what comes from inside, from within from you soul, that’s what creates this amazing desire to win.

“We have to want to win but we have to know how to win because one without the other is useless.”

Victory for Portugal at the Allianz Arena would guarantee a place in the knockout stages, while leaving their opponents on the brink of elimination.

Joachim Low’s hosts are already playing catch-up following a 1-0 opening loss to world champions France.

“For us, the next match is a great match and we will face it the same way we always do: we want to win, we believe we can win. This is a key game for us,” said Santos.

“Germany is a great team but so is Portugal and we’re going to display our best abilities on the pitch.

“Over the years, we have shown that we can play even when we don’t have the ball and create chances and score and win, and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”

Germany lost narrowly to France following a Mats Hummels own goal (AP)

Germany are in danger of a second successive early exit from a major tournament following a dismal display at the 2018 World Cup as defending champions.

Borussia Monchengladbach defender Matthias Ginter is determined to make his nation proud.

“Whenever we achieve success, it leads to such great euphoria across the country,” he told EURO2020.com

“For this reason, it’s firstly a responsibility we have, a duty to give our all.”

Germany right-back Lukas Klostermann suffered a thigh injury in training and will be absent, while Portugal will be without defender Nuno Mendes due to a similar issue.

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