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Qatar 2022: Ronaldo is not Portugal’s only threat, says South Korea coach



 World Cup – UEFA Qualifiers – Path C Playoff Final – Portugal v North Macedonia – Estadio do Dragao, Porto, Portugal – March 29, 2022 Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Miguel Vida

South Korea coach Paulo Bento said Portugal are much more than a one-man team and stopping Cristiano Ronaldo will be just one of their tasks when they meet at the World Cup later this year.

Bento knows all about the qualities of the 37-year-old Manchester United forward, having managed his native Portugal from 2010 to 2014. In addition to the former European champions, Korea have also been drawn to face Ghana and Uruguay in Qatar.

“Our concern in this moment cannot be (about) one player,” said Bento. “It doesn’t matter what kind of player we talk about.

“All the people know that he is one of the best players in the world, ever. But then we need to consider all the Portugal team, not just one player.

“Portugal have a number of players with too much quality in many, many aspects, playing in the most important leagues in Europe.”


Ronaldo, the record scorer in international football, will be making his fifth World Cup appearance while the South Koreans will be featuring at the finals for a 10th straight tournament.

Bento’s side qualified comfortably from Group A of Asia’s preliminaries but finished second behind Iran following a surprise 1-0 loss at the hands of the United Arab Emirates in the final round of qualifiers.

“There were some difficult moments that in my opinion allowed us to grow up as a team,” Bento said of the group campaign.

“At the same time, (those moments) allowed us as a technical staff to grow up as well and develop our ideas in the best possible way.

“The most important thing for me was that in those moments, we kept believing in our way of managing the team and in our way of playing.”



Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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