Lviv, Ukraine – Cristiano Ronaldo could do with a goal – and without mention of Lionel Messi at Euro 2012.
The 27-year-old Portuguese superstar has yet to score in the tournament and a succession of missed chances in the thrilling 3-2 win over Denmark ended with Danish fans chanting 'Messi! Messi!'.
It was the last thing the Real Madrid player needed to hear the name of the three-time world Player of the Year being chanted after the Argentinian superstar left Ronaldo trailing in second place in the La Liga scoring charts last season.
Needless to say Ronaldo fired off his own riposte – hitting its target more effectively than he had done in the match.
“Do you know what he (Messi) was doing this time last year? He was going out of the Copa America in the quarter-finals.”
Ronaldo's lack of goals should not come as a complete surprise as he has scored just five times in 15 games at major finals since appearing at Euro 2004 in his homeland.
With the added burden of the captaincy on his shoulders many have wondered – probably the same people who say that like Messi he leaves his best form at home when he dons his national jersey – whether he could handle that as well.
However, Portuguese coach Paulo Bento dismissed such thoughts as rubbish.
“I don't like talking about individuals after a match, I always analyse the team performance as a whole.
“We have put together two good performances against two good sides and we are on the right road and we will continue to score goals whether it is Cristiano or someone else.
“Is he wilting under the pressure? That is not my impression.
“He is under the same pressure as the other players, who want to contribute to victory.
“From our point of view he has played two good matches and I am certain that there is not a player in our team who is unhappy with him.”
Ronaldo's Real team-mate Pepe – who did get on the score sheet with a first-half header – said he had contributed in other ways to the team's crucial victory that kept their hopes alive of reaching the last eight.
“He is one of the best players in the world, in this tournament,” said the 29-year-old defender.
“We are happy to help him. He has a lot of responsibilities with regard to us and to Portugal. Today, he wasn't able to score but he has done on other occasions.
“He helped the team and showed his professionalism.”
Ronaldo's former Manchester United team-mate Nani said he had no concerns about his skipper.
“Cristiano Ronaldo? He's fine, he is happy like all of us over the victory,” said Nani, who created the second goal for Helder Postiga.
“Everyone misses chances. He had good opportunities, but there is still one group match (against Holland), maybe he can score then.” – Sapa-AFP