'Leave Cristiano Ronaldo Out': Former Arsenal Star Advises Portugal to Bench CR7 at Euro 2024

'Leave Cristiano Ronaldo Out': Former Arsenal Star Advises Portugal to Bench CR7 at Euro 2024

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
updated at June 11, 2024 at 6:53 AM
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  • Cristiano Ronaldo will lead Portugal in their quest to win the 2024 Euros, potentially the final major tournament of his career
  • However, his country has been advised to drop him to the bench and only consider adding him to the line-up for the knockout stages
  • The 2016 Euro champions have been drawn in Group F alongside Arda Guler's Turkey, debutants Georgia, and the Czech Republic

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Portugal has been 'instructed' to bench their talisman and captain, Cristiano Ronaldo, for the upcoming 2024 UEFA European Championship.

CR7, who holds the all-time appearance and goal-scoring records for the Selecao, has long been their go-to player, delivering numerous clutch performances.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruben Neves, Diogo Jota, Portugal, Croatia, bench, train, warm-up, drop, Arsenal, star, Paul Merson, Euro 2024.
Cristiano Ronaldo participates in Portugal's warm-up session with Ruben Neves and Diogo Jota ahead of their friendly against Croatia on June 8, 2024. Photo by Gualter Fatia.
Source: Getty Images

However, former Arsenal star, Paul Merson, has suggested that despite his impressive résumé in international competitions, Portugal should start the veteran forward from the bench at this summer's Euros.

Portugal advised to bench Ronaldo

Merson, who earned 21 caps for England and played in the 1992 Euros, believes Ronaldo should play a limited role in Portugal's campaign in Germany.

"There’s too much individual quality for them not to gel together as a unit, so I think they’ll fare quite well at Euro 2024," Merson said, as cited by Metro.
"Bruno Fernandes is a top-class footballer and should play a starring role for Portugal, while Cristiano Ronaldo is still with the squad despite entering the twilight years of his career."

He recommended that the 39-year-old be considered for the starting line-up only once qualification for the knockout stages has been secured.

"He’s still their captain and banging in the goals in Saudi Arabia, but I think they’ll see what he’s like in the camp and take a call on his selection.
"I would personally leave him out of the first two league games and get qualification sorted before bringing him back for the final encounter."

Ronaldo's track record at the Euros

Cristiano Ronaldo heads into his sixth European Championship following a remarkable 18 months with Al-Nassr in the Saudi Pro League, where he has scored 58 goals in 64 appearances, per Transfermarkt.

No matter the outcome this summer, many of Ronaldo’s Euros records are likely to stand for generations.

As the competition's all-time top scorer, CR7 has netted 14 career goals in the competition - five more than any other player, according to Opta Analyst.

He will be keen to extend these records further.

Mourinho speaks on Ronaldo's importance

Sports Brief also previously reported that Jose Mourinho shared insight on Ronaldo's importance to the Portugal national squad ahead of the 2024 Euros.

Despite calls for the five-time Ballon d'Or winner to step aside for the emerging talents, Mourinho maintained that the veteran was still a vital asset to the team.

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe photo
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe is a Ligue 1, Bundesliga, and La Liga editor with five-year experience. He previously worked with Sports Corna and 360SportsGH.