Portugal: World Cup Preview

Let’s be honest here, for Portugal, this World Cup is about Cristiano Ronaldo. The cameras, the eyes, the words – everything will be about him. The trouble with that, is they’ve been placed in the group of death with Spain, who they’ll face in their first match. That decision will go a long way in deciding who’s going to come out of Group B.

Group B
– Spain
– Portugal
– Morocco
– Iran

Cristiano Ronaldo: The magic. The step-overs. The shot. The abs. The engine that powers this Portugal side is looking to cement his case for the best player in history. If you’re to ask him, however, this has already been achieved, but a World Cup would go far in convincing anyone still teetering. At 32 years of age, he’s no longer a traditional spring chicken, but he’s proven to everyone that the rules don’t apply to him. He had a slow start in La Liga this season but roared back to finish with 26 goals in 27 appearances, and added to that with 15 more in 13 Champions League appearances to lead Real Madrid to yet another title, (Ronaldo’s 5th). Staring down possibly his last chance to capture footballs holy grail, we can all expect to see another sparkling display of determination from arguably the world’s best.

Ricardo Quaresma: Once a highly touted up-and-comer, Ricardo Quaresma has taken a much different career path than his former comparable in Cristiano. While the two of them were mentioned as 1 and 1A coming up in the Portuguese ranks, only one now has his own hotel chain. It’s clear they haven’t shared the same club success, but Quaresma has a European title, and has consistently been a force internationally. In many instances he’s overshadowed Cristiano. This is a very highly skilled player who will be depended on heavily on the front line to put the ball in the net.

Defenders: This is the one area that may hold Portugal back from glory. Filled to the brim with club success and international experience, the two centre backs Pepe and Jose Fonte are a combined 69 years old. Pepe was once the backbone of Real Madrid but now resides in Turkey with Beşiktaş, and Fonte has cleared off to China from the Premier League. The Portuguese have always been solid defensively, but the pressure is really on now and it will be interesting to see how they handle the barrage of young talented forwards bearing down on them every time they take the pitch. This will be a story to follow intently.

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