‘Not many players in world as lethal as Ronaldo’, opines Sunil Chhetri

New Delhi: The 2024 Euros are just around the corner and just like it has been for the past two decades, the spotlight will fall on Cristiano Ronaldo who has often been hailed as Portugal’s greatest player ever.

The 39-year-old has not scored an international goal since November, 2023 and has also been benched a few times for young striker Goncalo Ramos.

Ahead of the tournament, India’s all-time top scorer Sunil Chhetri talked about Ronaldo’s role and importance in the team in an exclusive conversation with IANS.

“I hope Ronaldo starts as many games as possible. I would love to see him. I think if there’s one team that can keep him as a number nine and not expect too much defensive work, I don’t mean that he should not or that he does not but I’m saying can expect less is Portugal,” Chhetri told IANS.

“It is a star-studded team they’re very good at keeping the ball, more than often they’re dominating. They are dominant when it comes to keeping the ball more than often. They have some top players so they can afford to have Ronaldo on the box,” he added.

Ronaldo is only one of three players in the world to have scored more international goals than Chhetri. He has been the Portugal team’s pillar and led them to the 2016 Euro title.

“He might not be doing as many quick turnarounds and quick defensive work, but when you get half a chance, there probably aren’t many players in the world as lethal as him. So why not? So I think as a fan, somebody who has learned so much from him the last 20 years, I hope we get to see more of him on the pitch as far as playing 11 is concerned.

“I’m pretty sure the coach is going to pick the best one, but having Ronaldo always gives you an edge because half a chance is a goal when it comes to him,” the former Indian skipper said.

Chhetri is the expert panellist on Sony Sports Network’s studio show Football Extra for UEFA Euro 2024.

Watch UEFA Euro 2024 from June 15, 12:30 AM IST onwards, live on Sony Sports Ten 2 SD & HD, Sony Sports Ten 3 SD & HD (Hindi), Sony Sports Ten 4 SD & HD (Tamil / Telugu), Sony Sports Ten 5 SD & HD (Malayalam / Bengali). – IANS

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