Cristiano Ronaldo a source of inspiration for Antoine Griezmann

By Sports Desk June 20, 2021

Cristiano Ronaldo is a "source of inspiration for everyone", according to France forward Antoine Griezmann.

France face Ronaldo's Portugal in their final Group F game at Euro 2020, in what is a repeat of the Euro 2016 final.

Despite Ronaldo succumbing to injury on that night in Paris, Portugal went on to clinch the trophy with a 1-0, extra-time victory.

Both teams played on Saturday but fell short of the results they wanted. France could only draw 1-1 with Hungary in Budapest, while Portugal were beaten 4-2 by Germany.

Ronaldo put Fernando Santos' side ahead in Munich, taking his tally to the tournament to three goals in two games, while he is now on 107 international goals, two shy of matching the record set by Iran great Ali Daei.

Ronaldo has now scored 19 goals at World Cups and Euros – no European player has ever netted more across the two competitions, with only Miroslav Klose scoring as many.

The 36-year-old has also scored in 14 different major competition matches, the joint-most of any European player, alongside Germany greats Klose and Jurgen Klinsmann, though Ronaldo has never found the net against France, failing to score against them in 439 minutes of action across six games.

Saturday's results leave Group F firmly in the balance, with France needing to beat Portugal to guarantee top spot, while defeat could well see them finish third.

Regardless of what is riding on Wednesday's clash, Griezmann lauded Ronaldo – as well as his Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi – as an inspirational force.

"[He is] a source of inspiration for everyone," Griezmann told a news conference.

"It is extraordinary what he is doing at 36 years old. He and Messi, there will be no one like them, we are lucky to meet them on the field.

"He is a complete player, an example for all young and old, he can show the way for many young people."

Griezmann got France's equaliser against Hungary, levelling from close range to score his 11th major tournament goal.

Only Michel Platini (14), Just Fontaine (13) and Thierry Henry (10) have more for France, while only Henry and Platini have scored in more matches at World Cups or Euros than Griezmann, who will draw level with the duo should he score again at Euro 2020.

Asked if he is eyeing up Platini's record, Griezmann replied: "We are talking about a legend. That is not my main objective.

"I would rather win without scoring rather than draw by scoring. I prefer to help the team. If we score, so much the better for everybody."

One player who thrived for France in their win over Germany, but failed to replicate the performance against Hungary, was Paul Pogba, but Griezmann insisted the midfielder's display cannot be too harshly judged.

"We are not going to question a player when he was a little less good compared to the last match. It was very hot. Even I was tired," Griezmann said.

"That's how it is. He will have another match against Portugal to prove that he can go on and keep that level against Germany in every game."

As for Pogba himself, the Manchester United man believes the result in Budapest presents a wake-up call for tournament favourites Les Bleus.

"You should never compare matches against Germany or Hungary," Pogba told Telefoot.

"We are still a little disappointed because we wanted to win and qualify [for the last 16]. Now there is still one game left. It's not a slap, but a little pat on the face to say, 'guys, we know what's in store for us.'"

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