The Portugal coach has attempted to downplay the Real Madrid star’s influence and feels all matches in Brazil should be moved to the evening due to high temperatures
Portugal coach Paulo Bento has stressed that the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo is no guarantee for success at the World Cup ahead of their Group G opener against Germany on Monday.
The Real Madrid attacker won the prestigious Fifa Ballon d’Or earlier this year and enjoyed a stellar campaign for the Champions League winners, but persistent knee and thigh problems mean he could be doubtful to feature against Joachim Low’s men.
Bento has made it clear that the prolific attacker, should he be fit, cannot guide his team to success all by himself.
“I think having a player like Cris is very importance because he influences the way we play greatly. He knows that and, more importantly, his team-mates know that,” the Portugal boss said at a press conference.
“But just because we have the best player in the world doesn’t mean that we should be world champions. I know that some people in my country don’t like me to say that but it’s true.
“What we just have to do is focus on getting out of the group. I think regardless of the person in any group, you have to first do what’s best for the team. Then you’ll become recognised individually.
“We have a very good team. It is a team that has participated in big championships and had positive results, bearing in mind the size of the country. We’re going to try to have a good World Cup but our first objective is to pass through the group phase, so having the best player in the world available to us makes us very pleased.”
Bento then went on to voice his dismay with the early kick-off times of some games as he feels the heat makes it hard for players to perform at their best in Brazil.
“We have established a plan for ourselves, which includes three stages: one in Portugal, the second for the friendlies in Portugal and the United States, and then arriving in Brazil on the mandatory date five days beforehand. I think we’ve chosen to do things a different. But if you’re asking me if we’re at a disadvantage, I think it’s not for our national team but all teams,” he said.
“As well as all the teams have adopted, it is not good to have a match at 1pm. That, I believe, is a disadvantage. We should have learned this in the United States World Cup when you had matches at 2 and 3pm in extremely high temperatures. That is something that his harmful. It’s harmful for the players, the fans, everyone. It’s not the best way to play football and I believe what is most important in football is the players.”
After Monday’s encounter with Germany, Portugal take on USA on June 22 and Ghana on June 26.