“Hurting his team” – Pundit brutally slams Ronaldo and Martinez over Portugal defeat

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Former Chelsea and Republic of Ireland striker Tony Cascarino has laid the blame for Portugal’s Euro 2024 exit squarely on manager Roberto Martinez and legendary striker Cristiano Ronaldo.

A Seleção das Quinas crashed out at the quarter-final stage with a penalty shootout defeat to France in Hamburg on Friday.

Despite heading to Germany as one of the tournament’s most-fancied teams, Portugal actually got worse as they went on, failing to score in any of their last three matches — a run that included a 2-0 defeat to minnows Georgia in the group stage.

One man who has come in for fierce criticism is Cristiano Ronaldo. Although his pedigree is in no doubt with 130 goals in 212 caps for his country — picking up Euro 2016 and Uefa Nations League titles along the way — the former Manchester United and Real Madrid forward looked a shadow of his former self at Euro 2024.

Now 39, Ronaldo often appeared to slow down Portugal’s play while many have pointed out that he was too selfish in the final third, attempting more shots than any other player at the tournament so far (23) but failing to score a single goal — and that’s despite notching 3.6 xG and 2.81 non-penalty xG.

Ronaldo and Martinez slammed for Euro 2024 exit

talkSPORT pundit Cascarino — himself a veteran of three major tournaments with the Republic of Ireland — has launched a scathing attack on not only Ronaldo, but also manager Martinez for continually sticking with the Al Nassr forward, who played all but 24 of Portugal’s total minutes.

“How can you justify it? How does Martinez as a coach, manager, justify keeping him on?” said Cascarino.

“He had nothing to say in that game. And you can say previous games, he backed him and talked very highly of what a great professional he was.

“But you’re watching that game last night, and if he was a young lad, he’d have been hauled off at half time.”

The former Chelsea and Marseille striker continued: “You’ve been beaten by a French team, okay, and it’s gone to penalties.

“They couldn’t have played as poorly as they did last night, the French. They were really disappointing again. And all their top players didn’t turn up.

“No one was that exciting. Dembele came on, and probably Saliba did as well as anybody. Even Kante didn’t have his best game.

“And they’ve knocked you out. I think as the days roll on, it will be a huge disappointment.

“And I’m afraid he’s played a part in the reason why they haven’t got past France, the manager, because he indulged something that was hurting his team.”

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