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PORTUGAL - WALES | maradona

Maradona: "Bale has contributed more at Euro 2016 than Ronaldo"

The Argentina legend has hightlighted the merits of the Welsh dragon in getting his side to the semi-final in France and contrasted him with Cristiano.

Diego Armando Maradona.

Maradona believes that the Welsh forward Gareth Bale has contributed more to his team than his Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo has for his Portugal, both of whom face off against each other in tonight's Euro 2016 semi-final in Lyon.

In his column for the Times of India, the Argentina legend says, "This will be a clash between Real Madrid's left and right flanks. It's a team game, but one in which you look up to individuals like Ronaldo and Bale, if you have them. Their ball control, speed and shooting make them special.

Teammates become opponents, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.
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Teammates become opponents, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA, EMMANUEL DUNANDAFP

Impact on their team

He went on to say who he felt had done more for their side so far in the tournament:

"Their contributions will always be crucial because they can create that decisive moment. So far, Bale has contributed more to his team's progress than Ronaldo has to Portugal."


With regards to the relative outsiders Wales doing so well at this year's tournament Maradona said:

Head coach Fernando Santos of Portugal hoping to see the best of his side.
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Head coach Fernando Santos of Portugal hoping to see the best of his side.HandoutUEFA via Getty Images

"It would have seemed like a joke to many before the tournament had they been told about a Wales versus Portugal semi-final. Wales, with a quarter-final in their only World Cup appearance in 1958 to look back on, have looked like anything but novices in their first Euro finals."

"All European teams have a sense of positional discipline and Wales are no exception. Coleman's boys have adapted well to the modern 3-5-2 formation. Blessed with a dash of talent up front, they prefer creating chances on the break.


Maradona compared this to Portugal's progression through the competition saying that they have been "average in comparison" against the other three semi-finalists:

"Portugal have taken the difficult route and are still to win in regulation time after five matches. But they have displayed tactical maturity in a 4-1-3-2 system in reaching this stage for the fourth time in five editions since 2000. Talisman [Ronaldo] has largely been off-colour, but the rest have made up for it by playing for each other, an invaluable trait in major knockout games.

Renato Sanches, coming more and more into the Euros.
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Renato Sanches, coming more and more into the Euros.Laurence GriffithsGetty Images

On their young star Renato Sanches, the World Cup winning captain has been impressed:

"Coming this far without too much from their star shows Portugal's strength in unity. Young Renato Sanches has belied age to become a massive presence in midfield, with Pepe providing solidity at the back.

Who's going to win?

Maradona found it "difficult to pick favourites at this stage", but felt that, overall, Wales would start with an edge. But, and there was a big 'but', added that "an individual spark often becomes decisive," clarifying that, "Portugal have someone capable of providing that," in Ronaldo.

"At 31, he will be wondering if this is his last shot at international glory."


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