'I just closed my eyes and prayed' - Cristiano Ronaldo lunge left Martin Dubravka fearing the worst but Slovakia goalkeeper 'doesn't blame' ex-Man Utd team-mate

  • Ronaldo avoids red card for foul on Dubravka
  • Forward still suspended for next Portugal game
  • Newcastle keeper opens up on the foul

WHAT HAPPENED? Ronaldo flew into a challenge on Newcastle United goalkeeper Dubravka during Portugal's 1-0 win over Slovakia in a Euro 2024 qualifier on Friday. The 38-year-old was booked for the rash foul and Dubravka, who was briefly Ronaldo's team-mate last season during a loan stint at Old Trafford, detailed where the Al-Nassr man caught him during the collision.

WHAT THEY SAID: "In the shoulder, the neck and the chest," Dubravka told reporters after the game. "I just closed my eyes and prayed that he [Ronaldo] wouldn't hit me in the face as well. When I saw his studs coming at me, I didn't even look. These are situations when the goalkeeper closes his eyes and tries only to block the shot, and he, as a striker, has to go after such a ball. I don't blame him. It's sport, it's football. Situations like this belong to it. Of course, he realised he hit me. He asked me if I was OK. I take it sportingly."

He added: "I try to keep a clear head in these situations. It is a contact sport. Today, when we have VAR at our disposal. There is no point in getting into it."

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THE BIGGER PICTURE: As a result of that yellow card he picked up against Slovakia, Ronaldo is suspended for Portugal's upcoming clash against Luxembourg. The former United striker is a big loss for the Portuguese as he has scored five goals during their qualifying campaign to date.


Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal Slovakia 2023Dubravka-NewcastleGetty

WHAT NEXT? Portugal take on Luxembourg on Monday, while Slovakia host Liechtenstein on the same date.

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