Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo slammed Luxembourg’s pitch as a “potato field” and also said he had not been fully fit in recent matches after the European champions won 2-0 on Sunday to qualify for Euro 2020.
Ronaldo scored his 99th Portugal goal late in the game, having notched a hattrick in a 6-0 win over Lithuania three days earlier, but it was far from a vintage performance on a pitch full of divots at the Josy Barthel stadium.
“It’s difficult to play on these pitches -- it was a potato field, I don’t know how teams of our level are supposed to play on these pitches,” he told reporters. “It wasn’t a good spectacle but we did our job... I’m looking forward to my fifth European Championship.”
The 34-year-old had joined up with the Portugal squad after being substituted during Juventus’ 1-0 win over AC Milan the previous Sunday. Juve coach Maurizio Sarri then said that Ronaldo had been struggling with a knee problem for some time.
“In the last three weeks, I have been playing with limitations,” Ronaldo said. “But there was no controversy -- you (the media) created that.
“I tried to help Juventus. Nobody likes to be substituted but I understood because I wasn’t in such good shape,” he added.
Ronaldo said he was also “not 100 percent” in the two Portugal matches.
“I sacrificed myself for the team,” he said. “We could have missed out [on Euro 2020]. Thankfully, I haven’t been injured much in my career but it can happen. It’s a pain that prevents me from being 100 percent, but I always try to play. They created a big controversy where it didn’t need to exist. I’ll be back to 100 percent soon.”
Iranian striker Ali Daei holds the world record with 109 international goals.
“The 100th goal will come naturally,” he said. “Records are there to be beaten and I am going to beat them.”