Wednesday 26 October 2016

Portugal manager slams Iceland players and staff for abusing Ronaldo and Pepe

Tom Rooney

Published 17/06/2016 | 19:20

Apparently, it was not appropriate to commend Iceland for taking a point from their first ever game at a major tournament and, instead, we should have offered our sympathies to the world’s highest paid athlete and arguably the most incessant cheat in football.

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For all Cristiano Ronaldo’s awe-inspiring gifts, he has, on occasion, been known to throw a strop when events do not transpire to his liking.

Case in point, his reaction to Iceland earning a 1-1 draw against his Portugal side on Tuesday night. Few could argue that Ronaldo and co had largely dominated proceedings but, at the same time, the alleged minnows were hardly the proverbial thieves in the night.

The Real Madrid attacker’s post game interview was, to say the least, unsavoury and he was suitably chastised by fans and media alike.

However, Portugal manager Fernando Santos has fired back in defence of his superstar forward and, in turn, pointed the finger at the Icelandic players, management and fans. Furthermore, and rather outlandishly, he has lamented how Pepe, of all people, was the victim of poor sportsmanship.

This is the same Pepe who blighted the recent Champions League final with diving, antagonism and his all round lack of respect for the rules in general. Far from an isolated incident, we hear you say. Indeed, his conduct was equally repugnant against the Nordic nation.

“When people talk about fair play sometimes it makes me want to laugh. When we talk about other people's reaction in Portugal we say if you don't feel you are not really a good person,” Santos said.

“After what the Iceland manager and some players said and did for 90 minutes - they booed Pepe and Ronaldo - and the players on the bench kept heckling Pepe, people will respond the way they can, in a very emotional way.

“You should always have fair play and I have always played fair. In the post-match press conference I made no comments or statements or provocations. But I don't think you should bring up fair play after other people have shown lack of fair play.”

With his second half equaliser, Birkir Bjarnason not only nullified Nani’s opener, but also registered his nation’s first goal on the global stage, Subsequently, Hungary, who beat Austria, sit atop of Group F.

Iceland face Hungary tomorrow, while Portugal will seek to resurrect their campaign against Austria.

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