EURO 2024 QUALIFYING
Former Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo fortunate to avoid a red card in Portugal’s win over Slovakia
The Al Nassr attacker played 90 minutes in the Euro 2024 qualifier but could easily have been sent off in the second half.
Despite rumours that Cristiano Ronaldo would retire from international soccer after being dropped from the Portugal team at the 2022 World Cup under previous manager Fernando Santos, the former Real Madrid icon has been a central figure in new boss Roberto Martínez’s plans, starting all five of their Euro 2024 qualifying games played so far, including against Slovakia on Friday.
The Iberian side are well on course to seal a place at the tournament in Germany next season, with a 1-0 win in Bratislava continuing their 100% start to qualification. Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes scored the only goal of the game just before half-time, but teammate Ronaldo was involved in one of the match’s most contentious incidents with little over an hour played.
Cristiano clashes with Slovakia goalkeeper Dubravka
With Portugal going in search of a second goal, Vitinha played a pass into the box to the Al Nassr striker, who uncharacteristically mis-kicked from near the penalty spot. The ball, however, bobbled just in front of him, leaving Ronaldo and Slovakia goalkeeper Martin Dubravka in a race to get to it first. The latter managed to get his hands on it but was then caught by what can only be described as a reckless lunge by the Portuguese, who went in studs up with one foot, then the other.
VAR did check the incident but it was perhaps surprisingly deemed that the yellow card shown by Swedish referee Glynn Nyberg was sufficient punishment for Ronaldo, who was apologetic after the incident and went to see if former United teammate Dubravka, who completed the match, was OK.
Ronaldo suspended for Portugal vs Luxembourg
Despite escaping a red card, the 38-year-old will serve a one-match suspension in Portugal’s next match at home to Luxembourg on Monday after being shown his third yellow card in five matches.