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Mon Apr 21 06:37:44 SAST 2014

I’d rather have Ronaldo than Messi, says Moutinho

Justin Palmer, Reuters | 21 June, 2012 08:580 Comments
Portugal v Netherlands - Group B: UEFA EURO 2012
Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal reacts during the Euro 2012 group B match between Portugal and Netherlands at Metalist Stadium on June 17, 2012 in Kharkov, Ukraine
Image by: Ian Walton / Getty Images

Portugal midfielder Joao Moutinho would rather have teammate Cristiano Ronaldo in his side than Argentine great Lionel Messi.

“Ronaldo and Messi, those are the two best players in the world,” Moutinho told reporters on Wednesday ahead of Portugal’s Euro 2012 quarter-final clash with the Czech Republic in the Polish capital on Thursday.

“I think that Cristiano is a very complete player in all aspects, Messi is too but these two players, they differ from another. I would prefer Ronaldo.”

Moutinho was answering just one of many Ronaldo-related questions that dominated both Czech and Portuguese news conferences at the National Stadium.

Czech captain Tomas Rosicky was at least afforded the courtesy of commenting on his recovery from injury before questions on the world’s most expensive player began.

How could the Czechs stop the flying winger? What plans did they have for him?

Moutinho and coach Paulo Bento were bombarded with Ronaldo talk right from the start when it was Portugal’s turn to face the media.

The Porto midfielder, showing no signs of irritation, said it was “natural to talk about him all the time”.

“Ronaldo is a leader. A complete player. Good in the air, good with his feet,” he said.

Bento, told that Rosicky had said Ronaldo did not like to defend, was asked if he let his forward do what he liked on the pitch.

“I don’t just let him play. Of course there are instructions for him,” said the coach.

“I have heard the saying ‘talent can be very stressful’. He has a lot of talent, but I will give him the best information to cope with the task.”

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