Rafa Nadal: Spain could be in trouble if Cristiano Ronaldo is at his best
Eleven-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal admits Spain will be in trouble if Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo is in form
Rafael Nadal believes Spain will be “in trouble” if Cristiano Ronaldo is on form when the holders take on Portugal in the semi-finals of Euro 2012 on Wednesday.
The 26-year-old, whose uncle Miguel Nadal made 62 appearances for the Spanish national team, described the Portugal captain as a “winner”, while admitting their Iberian neighbours have an impressive team.
But the 11-time Major winner is confident Vicente Del Bosque’s side can reach the final if they replicate their performances to date in Poland and Ukraine.
“Cristiano is fighting to be named the Player of the Year. I had the chance to meet him a few times. He’s great. He’s a winner. We will be in trouble if he is at his best. Portugal have a complete team,” said Nadal.
“But being a Spain supporter, you cannot expect to win the semi-finals of the Euros against an easy opponent. It’s the same when I am in the semi-finals of Roland Garros. You have a tough opponent in front.
“So Spain have one of the toughest opponents possible to beat, and hopefully Spain can keep playing the way that we did the last couple of years and be able to be in the final for another time.”
Pre-match facts: Portugal v Spain
• The Iberian rivals first met in Madrid in December 1921, Spain prevailing 3-1. They have largely held the upper hand ever since, with a record against Portugal of P34 W15 D12 L7 F70 A43.
• Piqué, along with Xavi Hernández, Víctor Valdés, Andrés Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and substitute Pedro Rodríguez, was part of the Barcelona team that overcame the Manchester United of Ronaldo and Nani 2-0 in the 2009 Champions League final in Rome.
• Ronaldo and Pepe were on the losing side in a Champions League semi-final with Real Madrid against Spain’s Barcelona contingent in 2010-11, although Ronaldo’s header did earn Madrid victory in that season’s Spanish Cup final between the teams.
• Ronaldo has scored six European championship finals goals, matching Nuno Gomes’ national record.
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