Is Cristiano Ronaldo’s unquestioned starting role really Portugal’s best route to success?

The ageing icon is infinitely watchable, and will start against France in the last eight, but his waxwork target man act is now a hindrance

It was the penultimate question of a 15-minute press conference but one that had everybody nodding in agreement, internally at least. At almost 1am local time in a bunker inside the Frankfurt Arena, Roberto Martínez leaned forward into the microphone and reached for a virtual shield to steel himself.

“Do you feel your game gets too predictable with all those crosses inside the box towards Ronaldo?” came the question and regardless of what the Portugal manager may say, the answer is a resounding big, fat yes. Or as the Portugal supporters mimicking Ronaldo outside the ground before kick-off might say: “Siuuu!”

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