Fernando Santos says Cristiano Ronaldo is not Portugal’s only threat

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Portugal will square off with Croatia at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens at 9pm on Saturday evening

PORTUGAL coach Fernando Santos says Cristiano Ronaldo is not their only attacking threat, and explains the shift in their traditional formation at Euro 2016.

Ahead of the Round of 16 clash against Croatia, Santos has defended his side’s lacklustre display amid the Real Madrid star’s late resurgance in their group fixtures.

Ronaldo finally managed to open his account by bagging a brace in their final group F clash against Hungary, which ended in a 3-3 draw to help A Seleccao qualify for the knockout stage as a best third-placed finisher.

Santos has admitted that the change in their traditional formation of 4-3-3 to one with just two front ment is to accomodate the 31-year-old, but explainsed that “not everything revolves around Cristiano”.

“It is [to suit Ronaldo], but not just for this. Not everything revolves around Cristiano Ronaldo, even if he is important for our team,” responded the coach.

“Cristiano is not a winger or a striker. That’s why, in the quest for the balance that we lacked, in my opinion we can find a better compromise in a 4-4-2.

“If we put Cristiano as a striker [in a 4-3-3], it will take away some of his potential, it will reduce his qualities. This is not imaginable.

“But if he is placed on the left, you are exposed to defensive problems.

“So Cristiano is better when in a position where he can attack the defence and the goal. This is one of his characteristics, he needs space and freedom.”

Portugal will square off with Croatia at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens at 9pm on Saturday evening, with the winner set to face either Switzerland or Poland in the quarterfinal round. Kickoff.com

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