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Prague – Czech dailies puzzled Tuesday over ways to stop Cristiano Ronaldo as the Czech Republic prepare to face Portugal in Thursday's Euro 2012 quarter-final.
“Czech players could hardly face a bigger threat. If they want to succeed, they must above all stop Cristiano Ronaldo,” says the Lidove Noviny broadsheet.
“Goalless games are remarkably scarce in the Portugal captain's records, he shows stunning versatility on the pitch and he punishes the opponent's mistakes without mercy,” adds the daily.
The 27-year-old Real Madrid midfielder played two games without scoring at the tournament co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine – against Germany and Denmark.
However, he put fears over his form to rest as he struck twice in the 2-1 win over the Netherlands in their last group game, to ensure his side progressed and hammer the final nail into the Dutch side's coffin.
“It's not easy to read Ronaldo's moves. You never know in advance what he will do,” says Lidove Noviny.
“The predator attacks. Czechs are building a wall against Ronaldo,” says a headline in the largest Czech broadsheet daily DNES, recalling how Ronaldo led the Portuguese to a 3-1 win against the Czechs at Euro 2008.
“Ronaldo is not only a remarkable scorer, but also a dribbler and sprinter who can outrun defenders even with a ball on his foot,” says DNES, advising defenders not to attack Ronaldo when he is “dancing above the ball.”
“They must push him with their bodies to the sides to make shooting difficult for him. When he gets the ball in the middle, he shoots, and his shots resemble missiles of mass destruction,” says DNES.
“Let's ruffle him a bit,” says a front-page headline in the Sport daily, next to a picture of Ronaldo with untypically unruly hair.
“Turbo Ronaldo? The Czechs are not afraid,” adds another headline inside the paper which calls for a revenge for the 2008
“The monster is now facing the Czech team, in particular Theo Gebre Selassie, an elastic player with Ethiopian blood. But he's not going to break down,” adds sport.
Gebre Selassie, the rightback plying his trade with Czech champions Slovan Liberec, said playing against Ronaldo was not a special challenge.
“All games at this tournament have been terribly hard, and all have been a challenge. Ronaldo's one of the best in the world, but we're not afraid of him,” he told Sport.
On the left side of Czech defence, David Limbersky would have a special reason to succeed against Ronaldo.
“My girlfriend told me I would become a real footballer when I manage to face Ronaldo. She's crazy about him,” he told Lidove Noviny. – Sapa-AFP