Football Football

Ronaldo: Portugal are up against it in Brazil


RONALDO-QUARTER-GOALDUBAI, December 29- Star Cristiano Ronaldo said pressure will be enormous for Portugal at the World Cup in Brazil as he called the country’s group “difficult”, while expectations in his home country are very high.

Speaking at an interview panel moderated by former Italian referee Pierluigi Collina at the 8th Dubai International Sports Conference, the 28-year-old said Group G was one of the toughest, because all four teams were strong, “and Germany in particular”.

Group G also includes Ghana and the United States.

Ronaldo said: “The pressure will be high, because Portugal was several times close to winning in the last 10 years.”

In 2004, Portugal lost to Greece in the final in the European championship. At the World Cup 2006 in Germany, Portugal was beaten in the semi finals.

At the 2012 Euro, Portugal reached the semi finals but lost to eventual winner Spain.

“We lost against Spain in the penalties. That was bitter as there is also some luck in any penalties,” Ronaldo recalled.

The Real Madrid forward added that his personal goal next year would be, besides winning the World Cup, “to beat my own record of 2013 when I scored a total of 69 goals.

“I always learn, I always work hard to improve. Of course, scoring goals is not everything, but without goals you are not going to win the match,” said Ronaldo.

Asked by Collina about what he expected from a good referee, Ronaldo said “there are referees you can speak with, others are less open. I prefer a referee to whom I can also speak during the match.”

While asked about who were his examples before he became a professional player, Ronaldo named Luis Figo and Rui Costa.

Mater Al-Tayer, deputy chairman of the Dubai Sports Council, handed over the Globesoccer Award 2013 to Ronaldo.

The Portuguese is also competing for the title as the world footballer of 2013 with Bayern Munich striker Franck Ribery from France and FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi from Argentina.

The annual award winner will be announced on Jan. 13 2014