Cristiano Ronaldo‘s pursuit of the all-time goalscoring record in international football will not influence Portugal‘s play, says national team coach Fernando Santos.
Portugal take on Croatia in Tuesday’s Nations League game in Split with their hopes of defending the title over after their 1-0 home loss to France at the weekend,
That outcome saw Les Bleus qualify for the Final Four.
– Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (U.S. only)
– Is Ronaldo Portugal’s GOAT? Vote here for every country’s best ever
Ronaldo is seven goals away from equalling Ali Dael’s all-time record of 109 international goals with Iran.
Asked if his team will play to help Ronaldo in his feat, Santos said: “No, certainly not, nobody will be thinking about Cristiano. They [other players] will not be thinking about not scoring in order to give the chance to someone else. Even Cristiano wouldn’t want that to happen. Cristiano will score when he has to score. They [other players] will not be thinking about that.”
Ronaldo, 35, missed Portugal’s 3-0 win over Sweden last month after testing positive for COVID-19, but returned to play and scored in his national team’s 7-0 triumph over Andorra on Nov. 11.
The five-time Golden Ball winner celebrated against Andorra after his 100th international victory.