Roberto Martinez: Cristiano Ronaldo’s commitment as captain is unbelievable

Roberto Martinez: Cristiano Ronaldo’s commitment as captain is unbelievable


Portugal boss Roberto Martinez saluted captain Cristiano Ronaldo’s enduring quality after watching him send the nation into Euro 2024 with two stunning goals against Republic of Ireland.

The 39-year-old, who was winning his 207th senior cap in Aveiro, struck after 50 and 60 minutes following Joao Felix’s first-half opener to ensure the Euro 2016 winners head for Germany on the back of a 3-0 friendly victory.

Asked about Ronaldo’s contribution as he completed the full 90 minutes, Martinez said: “His commitment as captain is unbelievable. Today we saw two world-class goals, but I really enjoyed his work.

“He had already scored two goals, but his first option was to assist a team-mate. That shows solidarity and companionship, and they are important values in a dressing room when you’re going to the Euros.

“But also goals are very important and they were excellent.”

For interim Ireland boss John O’Shea, it proved a bruising evening as his side were made to pay for defensive errors on a night when they were decidedly second-best against opposition ranked 54 places above them by FIFA.

However, as his second spell in temporary charge drew to a close, he indicated he is keen to have the job on a permanent basis, and is confident there is a foundation in place to build upon.

Asked if his appetite had been whetted, O’Shea said: “Yes. Look, when you think back at what I’m looking to do going forward, it’s definitely whetted the appetite because the competitive element you have when you’re getting to this level and you’re facing a team with a squad with the talent that Portugal has, to have to come up with ideas of how to cause them problems and also stop them.

“Then obviously you’re facing a team like Hungary on an unbeaten run like they were, again coming up with ideas, solutions, and then obviously facing Belgium and Switzerland, so the four games that I’ve had, they’ve been amazing learning for me to understand decision-making, picking that XI, making subs, dropping people in.

His commitment as captain is unbelievable. Today we saw two world-class goals, but I really enjoyed his work

Roberto Martinez on Cristiano Ronaldo

“It’s definitely just whetted my appetite for more.”

On the squad at his disposal, O’Shea added: “Yeah. Look, that’s what we spoke to the players about, when you’re trying to reflect as quickly as possible, that there is that foundation.

“I spoke to the players in terms of the squad of players that was in the dressing room and the quality of players who were not here tonight in terms of four or five lads that would be potentially starting or definitely in the squad, that the level of competition now is high again in terms of the competition to get in the squad now going forward, and that can only lead, I think, to better performances again going forward.

“But it’s about getting to tournaments, it’s about winning competitive matches and the group have to realise that when they get back to their clubs, to get playing as quickly as possible because when you think, the games come around so quickly.”




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