Portugal Manager Paulo Bento believes that his team can’t just rely on superstar Cristiano Ronaldo during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Ronaldo was in stellar form for both his club Real Madrid and the Portuguese national team during the 2013 season and this morning won FIFA Ballon d’Or award for the second time in his career.
Bento said that he is delighted to have a player with the qualities of Ronaldo in his strong, but believes that it will be a strong team effort that lifts Portugal to success during the World Cup, rather than the efforts of just one player.
“Every team has a few talented individuals that can help come up with solutions in certain situations, but as part of a team dynamic,” Bento said.
“That was the case with us at EURO 2012; we played really well as a team and were very organised at all times.
“Everybody knows the individual talents we’ve got, but the team is always the most important, without it, even the biggest talents can’t shine.
“That’s what we’re looking for at the World Cup – a strong and united team first and then the talent can come to the fore.”
While Bento admits that his tactics during the World Cup won’t be completely dominated by Ronaldo, he is well aware of the impact that an in-form superstar can have during an international tournament.
Leading Portugal to victory in the UEFA European Championships or the World Cup is one of the only accomplishments missing from the professional resume of Ronaldo and Bento is confident that the 28 year-old will be highly motivated heading into the tournament, which begins for Portugal against Germany in Salvador on June 16.
“Every coach out there and every fan, whatever their level of interest in the game, appreciates what Ronaldo can do,” Bento said.
“They all value his quality, his talent and his effectiveness.
“We Portuguese are enormously proud and tremendously pleased to have a player of that quality and who is that effective, whether it’s for his club or his country; individual talent like his can help solve a lot of a team’s problems.
“He leads by example and that spreads to his team-mates and to the whole staff.
“He’s a guy who’s approachable and easy to talk to, a good team-mate who is extremely competitive.
“These good qualities spread to his colleagues, who can see he’s got what it takes to captain the national side.”
Portugal have qualified for at least the final sixteen of every World Cup or UEFA European Championship that they have contested since their poor performance at the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea and Bento said his goal is to get out of the Group once again.
Bento believes that there are no limits on how far Portugal can go during the World Cup, but said that they will simply be taking it one match at a time if they are able to make the knockout phase of the tournament.
“We’ll be aiming and trying to go as far as we possibly can,” Bento said.
“What we’ll strive for is getting to the Round of 16 and, from that point on, trying to knock out one opponent at a time.
“Other teams might have a different approach and perhaps, because of how they strong they are and the pedigree they have, it’s right for them but, for us at least, this is the best way to go.
“It’s what we did in 2012 and it’s what we’ll do in 2014.”
After meeting Germany in their opening match, Portugal will take on the United States Of America at Manaus on June 22 before meeting Ghana at Brasilia four days later.