Monday 20 November 2017

'Cristiano Ronaldo makes us a target for terrorists' - Portugal boss Fernando Santos

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo

Rory Dollard

Portugal coach Fernando Santos accepts his side could be a terror target at Euro 2016 due to Cristiano Ronaldo's presence.

Ronaldo was absent for Thursday's 1-0 defeat to England at Wembley but will be one of the star attractions in France.

And with that elevated profile comes a greater security risk, particularly in a country still on high alert following November's co-ordinated attacks that left 130 dead.

"As everybody knows, Portugal is considered one of the high-risk teams due to the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo," he said.

"But we are prepared for this. In reality, this will be the responsibility of the French security.

"Our fans will have to understand that at certain moments we won't be able to release our players as we would like."

The Selecao are based at the national rugby centre in Linas Marcoussis and play their group games in St Etienne, Paris and Lyon.

Ronaldo, as ever, will be their key man once he returns from a rest and recuperation break in Ibiza.

But the impact of his absence was perhaps less important to the England match than the first-half sending off of Bruno Alves.

That effectively clipped Portugal's wings and set in motion their 1-0 reverse.

"For sure Cristiano is important for us," said Santos.

"I have a good squad, especially in attack, but it was a different match because it was a friendly and we were playing with 10 men.

"It's always difficult with 10 men, especially against England in this atmosphere.

"Alves apologised to the group after the match. It was a strong tackle, but it's not going to happen again."

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