Ronaldo row rumbles on as Portugal slam Iceland antics
Published 18/06/2016 | 02:30
Portugal boss Fernando Santos has leapt to the defence of his captain and star player Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of tonight's clash with Austria at the Parc des Princes.
Ronaldo was accused of being disrespectful to Iceland following the Nordic side's surprise 1-1 draw with Portugal, after he refused to shake hands or swap shirts with opponents and hastily headed down the tunnel.
The Real Madrid forward then criticised Iceland for their negative tactics and said he felt they had a small-time mentality because they celebrated the point - the nation's first at the European Championships - as if they had won the tournament.
However, Santos has claimed his captain was abused by some of Iceland's players and staff during the Group F opener.
"When people talk about fair play sometimes it makes me want to laugh," he 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."
Santos said after the draw with Iceland that he may need to 'refresh' the team so changes could be afoot, although Ronaldo will keep his place in the team and become Portugal's most capped player in his 128th game for his country, surpassing Luis Figo.
Austria centre-back Aleksandar Dragovic is suspended after his red card against Hungary and could be replaced by Watford's Sebastian Prodl or Tottenham's Kevin Wimmer.
Meanwhile, head coach Marcel Koller admits he wishes star player David Alaba was employed in a more advanced role for club side Bayern Munich.
He said: "David plays in midfield for us and in defence at Bayern. That's a small problem.
"The adjustment takes a bit of time. When you play at full-back or centre-back you always have the match in front of you and the running paths are also much more intense.
"He is an outstanding player, who can adjust. But it's not ideal for us. It would be best if he could play in midfield all season."