Cristiano Ronaldo ‘doesn’t have any problems in terms of mentality’ despite recent Juventus struggles, says Fernando Santos – as Portugal boss insists his captain always plays with ‘the same joy’ for his country
- Cristiano Ronaldo has been criticised recently for his displays at Juventus
- Ronaldo was slated by the Italian press following Juve’s Champions League exit
- Portugal manager Fernando Santos has leapt to the defence of his captain
Criticism of Cristiano Ronaldo’s performances for Juventus has had no impact on the forward’s morale and he is ready to give 100 per cent for Portugal in their World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan later on Wednesday, head coach Fernando Santos said.
Ronaldo came under fire after Juventus were knocked out in the Champions League last 16 earlier this month by 10-man Porto, who progressed on away goals.
Porto’s decisive goal came from a free kick that went through the Portugal striker’s legs as he turned in the defensive wall, with the front page of the Corriere dello Sport saying: ‘Betrayed by Ronaldo’.
Cristiano Ronaldo (right) has been a happy person within Portugal’s camp despite club issues
Ronaldo is with his national team as they prepare for their World Cup qualifiers this month
He suffered more Champions League anguish with Juventus earlier this month in the last 16
‘When Cristiano is with the national team, he always comes with the same vision, the same passion, the same will, the same joy,’ Santos said.
‘He always gives 100 per cent when he comes to the national team.
‘I don’t think he has any problem in terms of mentality at the moment.’
Ronaldo turned his back in the wall as Sergio Oliveira scored a low free-kick in extra time
Corriere dello Sport used the headline ‘Betrayed by Ronaldo’ after Juve crashed out to Porto
Ronaldo has been linked with a return to Real Madrid, who he left to join Juve in 2018, by some Spanish media outlets and Santos said he would be happy to talk to him about his future.
‘I give advice to Cristiano personally. I was his head coach when he was 18, and we have a close relationship,’ Santos said.
‘We talk a lot, but these are private conversations between friends. We don’t really have a coach-player relationship, but it is different when he is in the national team. If he asks me for any advice, I will let him know what I think.’
Portugal manager Fernando Santos has defended Ronaldo who ‘always gives 100 per cent’
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