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Ronaldo admits he is not '100 per cent'

Filed on November 18, 2019
Cristiano Ronaldo scores Portugal's second goal during the Euro qualifier against Luxembourg. - Reuters

Portugal qualify for Euro 2020

Cristiano Ronaldo admitted on Sunday that he is not at "100 percent" after reacting angrily to twice being substituted by Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri earlier this month.

The 34-year-old scored his 99th international goal on Sunday as reigning champions Portugal qualified for Euro 2020 with a hardfought 2-0 win in Luxembourg.

"I wasn't 100 percent and I'm still not," he said. "In the last three weeks, I have played at a slightly reduced capacity.

"But when it comes to sacrificing myself for my club and my national team, I do it with pride."

Sarri said Ronaldo had a "little knee problem" after replacing him during Juventus' 1-0 win over AC Milan last weekend, despite media reports that the five-time Ballon d'Or winner had left the stadium before the end of the match.

"I don't like to be replaced, no one does," added Ronaldo. "I tried to help Juve even when injured." Bruno Fernandes struck Portugal's opening goal on 39 minutes before Ronaldo tapped in a scrappy second late on to clinch second place in Group B behind winners Ukraine, who drew 2-2 in Serbia.

Iranian striker Ali Daei holds the world record with 109 international goals scored in 149 appearances between 1993 and 2006.

"All records must be broken and I will beat that record," said Ronaldo.

Portugal became the 17th nation to qualify for next year's multi-host tournament, which kicks off in Rome on June 12, joining the likes of world champions France, Spain, Italy and England.

Later on Sunday, world champions France wrapped up top spot in Group H as goals from Corentin Tolisso and Antoine Griezmann sealed a 2-0 win over Albania in Tirana.

"I'm very dependent on the players," French World Cup-winning coach Didier Deschamps said after his 100th game in charge.

"It's a personal pride. But it's good to see what the players do together. At times, it can be a bit more difficult with changes to the players, injured players, but the spirit is there."

The French national anthem was roundly booed before kick-off as retribution for the error that saw the Andorran anthem played instead of the Albanian one when the teams met in September at the Stade de France.

The visitors made a quick start on the pitch, though, as Bayern Munich midfielder Tolisso headed Griezmann's free-kick into the bottom corner.

The Barcelona star slotted in the second himself on the half-hour mark, before the dead rubber petered out in the second period, with Olivier Giroud going closest to a third by striking the post.

The other games in the group saw Turkey, who had also already sealed qualification, beat Andorra 2-0, while Iceland edged to a 2-1 victory at Moldova.

England rounded off an impressive campaign with a 4-0 thrashing of Kosovo.

Goals from Harry Winks, Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford and Mason Mount ensured England finished at the Group A summit, having scored 37 goals in just eight matches.

"We know there is still a bit of work to do but I can't fault the players in this campaign, they've been ruthless. We're more settled with the group now," said England manager Gareth Southgate.

The Czech Republic are also through, but lost 1-0 in Bulgaria on Sunday.

RESULTS

Group A

Kosovo 0 England 4

Bulgaria 1 Czech Republic 0

Group B

Serbia 2 Ukraine 2

Luxembourg 0 Portugal 2

Group H

Moldova 1 Iceland 2

Andorra 0 Turkey 2

Albania 0 France 2

 

 

 


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