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Roy Keane blasts “rubbish” claim that Portugal are better without Cristiano Ronaldo

Roy Keane backs Cristiano Ronaldo.

Roy Keane has dismissed claims that Portugal are better off without Cristiano Ronaldo as “rubbish”.

The former Ireland skipper caught up with Gary Neville and Micah Richards over lunch in Qatar, to dissect the 2022 World Cup ahead of the quarter-finals this weekend.

One of the topics they touched on in the Sky Bet chat was Ronaldo being dropped by Fernando Santos for Portugal’s 6-1 victory over Switzerland on Tuesday night, and it seems that Keane is sticking to the line that he has used on Sky Sports for the majority of the Premier League season.

Roy Keane on Cristiano Ronaldo being dropped.

“You love that one, Gary,” said Keane, when Neville suggested that Portugal are better when Ronaldo is not in the team. “They had a good result last night.

“When a team does well without Ronaldo, ‘we’re better off without Ronaldo,’ I hate that rubbish. Juventus haven’t done anything since he left a couple of years ago, they’ve been a disgrace.

“Last night, the manager made a decision, a correct decision, he thought ‘I need more mobility up front’, and the guy [Goncalo Ramos] scores a hat-trick and everyone’s going, that’s down to Ronaldo.”

Gary Neville.

Keane then compares the end of Ronaldo’s career to Neville’s, pointing out that the former right-back barely played in his final few years at Manchester United.

Reaching for his phone to pull out the stats, Neville states that he played 28 games in his final full season, 15 of which were in the league, to which Keane replies “15? Oh, wow. Amazing that.”

While Ronaldo and Neville’s careers can hardly be compared, what all footballers have in common is that one day it all comes to an end.

Neville was seemingly more accepting of that than his former teammate, and all eyes will now be on whether Ronaldo forces his way back into the Portugal team for Saturday’s meeting with Morocco.

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