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Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo still a 'powerful weapon' and Portugal will 'play for him' at 2022 World Cup, insists Bernardo

14:59 GMT+3 13/11/2022
Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal 2022
Bernardo Silva insists that Cristiano Ronaldo still has the backing of his teammates, as he claimed Portugal would play for their captain in Qatar.
  • Ronaldo has struggled in 2022-23
  • Bernardo stood by Portugal teammate
  • Claimed CR7 will be 'powerful weapon' in Qatar

WHAT HAPPENED? Despite Ronaldo's stuttering start to 2022-23 for Manchester United, club rival and international teammate Bernardo highlighted the importance of having the 37-year-old in the national side. The Manchester City man has compared his prowess to that of France's Kylian Mbappe or Argentina's Lionel Messi, which is why he believes Portugal ''will play for'' the veteran forward in what will be his fifth World Cup.

WHAT THEY SAID: “The reality is when you’ve got a player like Cristiano, it’s natural that sometimes you play for him because he can win you the game in the final minutes,” Bernardo told FIFA. “The same goes for other countries. It’s natural, for example, that France always look to [Kylian] Mbappe because he can decide a match at any time. Brazil have Neymar and with Argentina it’s Lionel Messi.

“When you have these kinds of players on your side, you have to take advantage of them, although I agree you can’t become overdependent on them as this can disrupt the team dynamics. But, if we get it right, having Cristiano in our team will be a powerful weapon."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Ronaldo has struggled for consistent game time under new United boss Erik Ten Hag, and has failed to find the net in his last nine matches for Portugal. At Qatar 2022, though, he will be hoping for a repeat of Euro 2020, when he finished joint-top scorer alongside the Czech Republic's Patrick Schick.

IN THREE PHOTOS:

DID YOU KNOW? Ronaldo has scored in all of the previous four World Cups in which he has taken part (2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018).

WHAT NEXT FOR BERNARDO AND RONALDO? After Ronaldo contests a final Premier League trip away to Fulham this Sunday afternoon, the pair will convene for national duty ready for their group stage opener against Ghana on November 24.