Cristiano Ronaldo's 'surprising' behaviour in first meeting with Roberto Martinez shocked the Portugal manager
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Cristiano Ronaldo surprised Portugal boss Roberto Martinez in their first meeting, the former Belgium manager has revealed.
Martinez took the reins art Portugal in January 2023, a month after the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
In Fernando Santos' final tournament at the helm, Portugal were beaten by surprise package Morocco in the quarter-finals.
Ronaldo was seen in tears walking down the tunnel after the 1-0 defeat.
Some wondered whether he would play for his country again given his age and the fact he was a substitute for the knockout games against Switzerland and Morocco.
Goncalo Ramos was given the nod and scored a hat-trick in the 6-1 round of 16 hammering.
But Martinez immediately stressed that captain and talisman Ronaldo remained an important part of his plans and he has since scored nine goals in seven games playing under him.
Portugal have qualified for the Euro 2024 faster than any other tournament in history.
Ronaldo looks set to lead the line and Martinez has opened about their first interaction and how immediately developed a greater admiration for the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.
"I had never liked choosing names or being in a squad without having met the person behind the footballer," the former Wigan and Everton manager told Cadena SER, as per Mundo Deportivo.
"I tried to get to know everyone who was on the World Cup list and, when I met Cristiano, what I found he was a player who was predisposed to continue giving everything for the national team."
"I saw a person who wanted to be very committed and who is, in some way, at the service of the team. Something that doesn't have to be like that, a player like Cristiano, who has achieved everything.
"The truth is that I was very surprised that he had that humility and that desire to serve the group. That was the starting point and the foundations of all the players who have entered this locker room."
Ronaldo, who was trod on by a pitch invader on Monday, bagged a brace in the 5-0 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina to take his goals tally for 2023 to 40 for club and country.
The win confirmed Portugal as Group J winners with two games to spare.