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Cristiano Ronaldo: ‘He unites all’ – why ‘symbol’ Ronaldo is Portugal’s star draw

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates with Francisco Conceicao after the youngster's winner against Czech Republic

But for his team-mates, the experience he can offer outweighs the need for him to be scoring goals.

“We all know that it is important to have experienced players, like Cristiano Ronaldo,” said Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes.

“In fact, Pepe is probably the most experienced in the entire tournament. We know they are vital to us.”

For some of the best to have played the game, Ronaldo still has plenty to contribute at this level.

“Whatever you do, if Ronaldo plays well or the team plays well, he always finds a chance,” former Spain midfielder Cesc Fabregas said on BBC One.

“He takes care of himself to another level. He needs just one little moment of space to create a chance. His overall play has been much better than the last couple of years.”

Shearer, meanwhile, praised Ronaldo’s desire, but suggested he might have to accept a reduced role in some games for the benefit of the team.

“This is key to whether Portugal can go on and win the competition, because if he accepts he cannot play 90 minutes every game that will go a long way to them winning this,” he added.

“When waking up after games and having that desire to go again, when you are in pain, that hunger and desire to be the very best.

“Everyone speaks in glowing terms about his attitude, it is phenomenal.”

Ronaldo had talked up this generation of Portugal players before the tournament, saying they deserved to go all the way and replicate the country’s 2016 win.

Those comments and his joyous response to Conceicao’s winner suggest that he has the team’s interests ahead of his own and, if that is the case, there is every reason to believe Portugal will go far in Germany.

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