Cristiano Ronaldo has never been better – Portugal’s Raphael Guerreiro

Football


ESPN FC’s Mark Ogden explains the significance of having Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal at Russia 2018.
Portugal’s victory over Switzerland sealed the top spot in Group B and earned a berth for the 2018 World Cup.

Cristiano Ronaldo is enjoying “the best spell of his career” after scoring 15 goals in Portugal’s successful World Cup qualifying campaign, teammate Raphael Guerreiro has said.

Real Madrid star Ronaldo netted nearly half of Portugal’s 32 goals but did not score in the 2-0 win over Switzerland on Tuesday that ensured the European champions finished top of the group ahead of their opponents.

And Borussia Dortmund defender Guerreiro told SFR Sport the captain had never been in better form, saying: “You see what he gives on the pitch — he runs himself into the ground for the team. So of course he’s someone we rely on.

“I think he’s in the best spell of his career. He’s been really at the top in the last two years and he keeps going, but that’s normal because he works at what he does on the pitch.

“I’m not at all surprised by what he can still do today.”

But for a brilliant Yann Sommer save late in Tuesday’s match in Lisbon, Ronaldo would have joined Poland’s Robert Lewandowski on a record-breaking 16 goals in qualifying.

He has struck 79 times in 147 international matches, and Guerreiro pointed to his influence in Saturday’s win over Andorra, in which he made the breakthrough after coming off the bench.

“Even though it wasn’t his best game, he managed to break the deadlock and gave the players confidence,” Guerreiro said.

“He’s the most important player in the team, and he gives extra confidence to the others.”

Ian is ESPN’s French football correspondent. Twitter: @ian_holyman



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