Tuesday , July 23 2024

EURO 2024: Kylian Mbappe Lauds ‘LEGEND’ CRISTIANO RONALDO Ahead Of France’s Quarter-Final Clash With Portugal

Kylian Mbappe lauded Cristiano Ronaldo as a “legend” ahead of France’s Euro 2024 quarter-final showdown with Portugal.

Upon the conclusion of the tournament in Germany, Mbappe will feature for Ronaldo’s former team Real Madrid, but the France striker insisted he wants to follow his “own route” as opposed to following that of the Portugal great.

France striker Kylian Mbappe branded Cristiano Ronaldo a “legend”, as the two are set to face off for France and Portugal respectively in their Euro 2024 quarter-final encounter on Friday.
Mbappe could be seen as following a similar trajectory to Ronaldo, after joining Real Madrid this summer while looking to fire his country to international glory.
The 25-year-old said it is an “honour” to share the pitch with the Portugal forward, who he idolised as a child.
“It’s truly an honour, everyone knows the respect I have for him,” Mbappe told a news conference on Thursday. “He is still a legend and we are in contact but I hope tomorrow that we can win.
“We have to appreciate who he is and what he has done – he is a unique player. His CV speaks for itself.”
Aside from a penalty in the shoot-out win over Slovenia, Ronaldo has yet to score in the Euros but Portugal manager Roberto Martinez has held firm in his selection of the 39-year-old, despite suggestions that his inclusion alters the tactical approach and balance of the team.
The Al Nassr forward saw his extra-time spot kick saved by Slovenia goalkeeper Jan Oblak in their round-of-16 clash, which evoked tears from the striker before he converted a penalty to help his side to shoot-out victory.
Mbappe joined Madrid this summer after seven years with Paris Saint-Germain, and when asked if he is looking to follow in the same footsteps as the club’s all-time leading goalscorer Ronaldo, the France forward said he has to write his own legacy.
“There is only one of him,” he said. “Me, I just want to follow my own route. I hope I will write a great story at Madrid but it will be different.”
France have not hit their best form so far this summer, with two own goals and an Mbappe penalty meaning no French player has scored from open play. They have, however, remained solid and conceded just one goal, a Robert Lewandowski penalty.
But Mbappe shunned criticism by saying he can still “live in peace” amid negative external noise.
“There are people who may not be happy but I have seen happy people. It is more exciting to win 5-4, that’s for sure,” he said.
“The critics, you are there to do your job. They have always been part of my daily life. Today, it does not stop me from living in peace.”
Portugal’s Nuno Mendes has had his foot in both camps, featuring for Ronaldo’s Portugal whilst also a key member of the PSG team, who Mbappe helped fire to Ligue 1 glory yet again last season.
The full-back highlighted what makes both such “excellent” footballers – their ability to “make a difference at any time”.
“They’re top-class players, two excellent footballers,” Mendes said. “Two players who can make a difference at any time. I shared a changing room with both of them. It was a pleasure to play with Mbappe and I’m delighted to play with Cristiano.
“They’re two incredible players who can make a difference from one moment to the next. We’re ready for that. We’re going to train and prepare our goal and our ideas as much as possible, so that we can get to the game and implement them in the best way.”
Mendes, however, shied away from responding to a question asking who he would pick in attack, if he had to decide between the two.
“It’s complicated,” he said. “But I think this question is best asked of a manager. I’m a player, and obviously if I were a manager, I’d choose both of them. But I think this question is best asked of a manager, they’ll be able to answer it better.”
Portugal take on France on Friday evening, with Ronaldo hunting a second European Championship title after victory in 2016 – while Mbappe is targeting his first to go with the World Cup he helped secure in 2018.




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