GROUP G: Do Portugal place too much emphasis on Ronaldo?

Cristiano Ronaldo is, without doubt, one of the top five players in the world. But will the Portugal national team rely on him too heavily during the World Cup in South Africa this year?

Cristiano Ronaldo is, without doubt, one of the top five players in the world.

But will the Portugal national team rely on him too heavily during the World Cup in South Africa this year?

The 25-year old is by far the most influential player in this Portuguese team but the question that needs to be answered is will he get enough support?

In 2006, Portugal were the ‘Most Entertaining Team’ on their way to fourth place when Ronaldo was only 21 but he was assisted strongly by players like Luis Figo, Pauleta and Maniche who are no longer around.

The only other players who scored in Germany were Simao and Deco who are arguably not in the form they were four years ago so Ronaldo needs to find some quality to help.

Miguel Veloso has emerged as a talent while Raul Meireles has world-class ability but there is little evidence of anyone else that is special who can take the heat off the Real Madrid star.

The loss of Nani certainly won’t help and with a tough group to navigate, manager Carlos Queiroz will need to eek every ounce of ability out his players if Portugal are to reach the Round of 16 let along return to the semi-finals like in Germany.

Portugal

Playing schedule: Ivory Coast (Port Elizabeth) June 15; North Korea (Cape Town) June 21; Brazil (Durban) June 25

Also known as: Seleccao das Quinas
Manager: Carlos Queiroz (POR)
Captain: Cristiano Ronaldo
Key players: Cristiano Ronaldo, Ricardo Carvalho, Deco
Wildcard: Liedson
Player to watch: Hugo Almeida
Most caps: Luis Figo (127). Of this squad: Simao (81)
Top goalscorer: Pauleta (47). Of this squad: Cristiano Ronaldo (22)
FIFA ranking: 3
Qualifying: 2nd in UEFA group stage.
Appearance: 5th
Best result: Third – 1966

Portugal squad

Goalkeepers

Eduardo (Braga)
Beto (FC Porto)
Daniel Fernandes (Iraklis)

Defenders

Bruno Alves (FC Porto)
Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea)
Paulo Ferreira (Chelsea)
Rolando (FC Porto)
Duda (Malaga)
Miguel (Valencia)
Ricardo Costra (Valencia)
Fabio Coentrao (Benfica)

Midfielders

Pedro Mendes (Sporting Lisbon)
Danny (Zenit St Petersburg)
Miguel Veloso (Sporting Lisbon)
Pepe (Real Madrid)
Raul Meireles (FC Porto)
Tiago (Atletico Madrid)
Deco (Chelsea)

Forwards

Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
Liedson (Sporting Lisbon)
Simao (Atletico Madrid)
Ruben Amorim (Benfica)
Hugo Almeida (Werder Bremen)

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