Roberto Mancini says that he would have preferred playing a Portugal team which has Cristiano Ronaldo in it. According to Mancini, it’s not that Portugal is a bad team without Ronaldo. They are blessed with some other quality players as well especially in the attacking line and even with Crsitiano Ronaldo not being a part of their set-up, they will still prove to be tough opponents, but the thing with Ronaldo is that he has skills which probably nobody else has. So he adds a different flavor to the games he plays in.
The Portugal head coach Fernando Santos has not chosen Ronaldo for any of the games Portugal has played after the World Cup and the official word is that it’s happening with the consent of the player himself who wants a little bit of a break. Nobody knows when that break is going to end, but there doesn’t seem to be any chances of Ronaldo returning to action for Portugal anytime soon.
However, the Azzurri are in no mood to let their guard down just because Ronaldo is not there. Giorgio Chiellini, one of the prominent members of the Italian side, stressed that they are not going to take this Portugal side without Ronaldo lightly at all. Their approach is going to be the same as it would have been if Ronaldo was playing.
The pressure is more on Italy than Portugal ahead of this game because they need full three points from the game to advance to the finals. For Portugal, on the other, just one point will be good enough.