Rio Ferdinand mocked by fans for ’embarrassing’ claim Portugal would NOT have reached Euro 2024 without Cristiano Ronaldo, despite his perfect qualifying record
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Rio Ferdinand mocked by fans for ’embarrassing’ claim Portugal would NOT have reached Euro 2024 without Cristiano Ronaldo, despite his perfect qualifying record

  • Rio Ferdinand claimed Portugal would not reach Euro 2024 without Ronaldo
  • Fans reacted after the team qualified with a 100 percent record.
  • Click here to follow Mail Sport’s Euro 2024 WhatsApp channel for all the latest news and updates from Germany.

Fans have responded to Rio Ferdinand’s claim that Portugal would not have qualified for Euro 2024 without Cristiano Ronaldo and branded it “embarrassing”.

The former Manchester United defender insisted that without his former Red Devils teammate’s goals, Roberto Martinez’s side would have missed out on the tournament.

Ronaldo – who many have claimed is detrimental to the Portuguese team in the 2022 World Cup – has scored 10 goals in his 10 qualifying matches for this summer’s Euros.

With all this in mind, TNT Sports pundits Ferdinand, Joe Cole and Ally McCoist were asked if Portugal were a better team without the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.

In response, Ferdinand said: “You know, in qualifying he scored 10 goals in 10 games. If you looked at this World Cup in isolation, I might be on your side. But when you look at the qualifying process (at the Euro), without him, they do not qualify. So I do not agree.

Cristiano Ronaldo (photo) is set to play his sixth European Championship this summer
Rio Ferdinand insisted Portugal would not have reached the competition without Ronaldo

However, fans were quick to point out that Martinez’s side had collected as many points as possible and had only conceded two goals, suggesting Ronaldo was not the catalyst for their qualification.

“He’s a real clown… that was their group,” one fan wrote on X, with a photo of Portugal’s qualifying group accompanying the post.

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Martinez’s team included Slovakia, Luxembourg, Iceland, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Liechenstien in their group, which was no problem as they qualified with a score of 100 percent.

In their 10 matches, they have scored 36 goals and conceded only two against their opponents.

Another user, similarly posting the qualifying group in his post, wrote of Ferdinand: “This guy is so embarrassing.”

“Take away their goals from these matches: Portugal wins the group with 4 points and finishes with +24 goal difference,” said one fan on social media.

“Portugal have one of the strongest teams in the world and of their generation and they will struggle to qualify from this group without a 40 year old playing in the Middle East, go to Rio!”, said another.

“They scored 36 goals while conceding 2…. Stop,” one fan wrote with a trio of “laughing emojis” accompanying their post.

In recent days, some have questioned whether Ronaldo should be included in Portugal’s opening group matches in Germany this summer – with Arsenal legend Paul Merson saying he would bench the five-time Champions League winner for the group stages.

But it appears Martinez is keen to use the striker as much as possible, with the former Everton manager saying he intends to give Ronaldo and teammate Pepe, 41, a chance when they face the Ireland during their final warm-up. match Tuesday.

Fans were quick to refute Ferdinand’s claims about his former teammate.
Portugal coach Roberto Martinez has revealed that Ronaldo will take part in his final Euro preparation match.

“Tomorrow we will have Ruben (Dias), Pepe and Cristiano. It’s a perfect match to give minutes to the starters, but they will have minutes,” said the Portugal coach during a press conference on Monday.

Ronaldo has also been in fine form for his club this season, scoring 44 goals in 45 appearances in all competitions for Al-Nassr and Martinez stressed that his experience and leadership qualities are an integral part of this team.

“It is important for us to attack and defend with eleven players. Cristiano has a brutal experience. There is no other with this experience. He is a player who knows how to use space in the box very well and he is a special finisher, a special player.

“Cristiano’s concentration, his reaction to defeat and his defensive positions have been perfect in the games we have played, the last eleven games. So for me there is no doubt, there is no doubt ‘worry.