Portugal 'prepared to win' without Cristiano Ronaldo - but Roberto Martinez explains why 'contagious' CR7 is still important

Roberto Martinez Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal 2023Getty
  • Portugal 'prepared to win' without Ronaldo
  • Ronaldo still important part of the team, says Martinez
  • Portugal recorded their biggest international win

WHAT HAPPENED? Portugal registered a record 9-0 win over Luxembourg in a Euro 2024 qualifying game on Monday without Ronaldo starring for the team. The 38-year-old was suspended for the clash after he collected three yellow cards. Despite their biggest star and captain not featuring in the matchday squad, Portugal steamrolled Luxembourg courtesy of braces from Goncalo Inacio, Goncalo Ramos and Diogo Jota. The trio of Ricardo Horta, Bruno Fernandes and Joao Felix bagged a goal each to complete the rout.

A satisfied Martinez claimed that his side are now ready to win matches in Ronaldo's absence, although, he also stated that the the five-time Ballon d'Or winner remains an important part of the squad.

WHAT THEY SAID: Speaking to reporters after the Luxembourg clash, Martinez said: "Cristiano is a very important part of this team, Pepe too. They have a contagious level and way of working and give our team important value. We need to give opportunities and Gonçalo Ramos and Jota showed what they can do. Ronaldo has experience and a special way of being, we don't need to create doubts or comparisons. This team is prepared to win without Cristiano too."

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THE BIGGER PICTURE: The win over Luxembourg was Portugal's biggest international victory to date. Portugal now have 18 points from six matches in Euro 2024 qualifying and are sitting top of Group J.


Roberto Martinez, Head Coach of PortugalGetty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal 2023Getty Images

Rafael Leao Goncalo Ramos Portugal 2023

WHAT NEXT FOR CRISTIANO RONALDO? Ronaldo is back in Saudi Arabia and will be next seen in action for Al-Nassr on Saturday against Al-Raed.