Martin Dubravka has revealed the conversation he had with Cristiano Ronaldo as the Portugal captain clattered onto him during the UEFA Euro 2024 qualifier against Slovakia on Friday (September 8). Ronaldo was booked as a result and will now miss the next game against Luxembourg on Monday (September 11).
Ronaldo tried to slide in and score but caught Dubravka inadvertently on the face.The referee immediately blew his whistle and booked Ronaldo. Dubravka later said about the coming-together (as per Chronicle Live):
“In the shoulder, the neck and the chest. I just closed my eyes and prayed that he wouldn’t hit me in the face as well. When I saw his studs coming at me, I didn’t even look.”
“These are situations when the goalkeeper closes his eyes and tries only to block the shot, and he, as a striker, has to go after such a ball. I don’t blame him.
“It’s sport. It’s football. Situations like this belong to it. Of course, he realised he hit me. He asked me if I was OK. I take it sportingly.”
Dubravka and Cristiano Ronaldo were teammates at Manchester United last season. When asked whether he would have been angrier had it been someone else, the goalkeeper said:
“No. I try to keep a clear head in these situations. It is a contact sport. Today, when we have VAR at our disposal, there is no point in getting into it.”
Portugal boss Roberto Martinez said that Goncalo Ramos will replace Cristiano Ronaldo for Luxembourg game
Cristiano Ronaldo has been key in Portugal’s UEFA Euro 2024 qualifying campaign, scoring five goals in as many games. Hence, his absence for the next game is a massive blow for the team.
Manager Roberto Martinez has said that Paris Saint-Germain striker Goncalo Ramos will lead the attack in Ronaldo’s absence against Luxembourg. Martinez said after the 1-0 win over Slovakia (via Record Portugal):
“Cristiano is always important. Today, it was clear that, with the yellow card, he needed to give everything in the 90′. He helped us, and now we will demonstrate that there are others to help the team. Goncalo Ramos will have this opportunity.”
Ramos has already shown that he’s capable of leading Portugal‘s attack. He did so by scoring a hat-trick in the Round of 16 of the 2022 FIFA World Cup against Switzerland after replacing Cristiano Ronaldo in the first XI.