Football legend Diego Maradona has hailed the efforts of Cristiano Ronaldo at Euro 2012, and thinks a statue should be built in Lisbon in his honour.
The former Argentina manager has been impressed by Portugal as a whole in the tournament thus far, but admits that ‘CR7’ is the x factor that could make the difference against Spain in tonight’s semi-final.
"For many years, Ronaldo didn't play his best for his country. The best player in the world, along with Messi, appeared frustrated and indecisive when he played for Portugal,” wrote Maradona in his Times of India column.
“Luckily for him, Portuguese coach Paulo Bento brought in a world class players such as Pepe at centre-half, Meireles in midfield, and Nani in attack, giving him [Ronaldo] a freer role in attack."
"In two superb performances [against Holland and the Czech Republic] he scored three goals, and against the odds, sent Portugal to the semi-finals of the tournament, proving to his country that he deserves a statue in Lisbon."
Ronaldo might need to lead his team to final glory before being immortalised in the capital of his country, and getting past Vicente del Bosque’s Spanish outfit will be the first step to that.
Maradona believes that La Roja aren’t as good as they were at the World Cup in South Africa two years ago however, and thinks that if Portugal attack, they can succeed in the Donbass Arena.
"Spain aren't as strong as they were two years ago when they won the World Cup,” he added.
“If Portugal turn up and defend, Spain will hammer them. But if they attack well, like Italy did, they could do well."
Portugal start as underdogs against the current European Championship holders, whilst Germany are favourites to beat Italy in tomorrow night’s second semi-final.