Football

Portugal manager wary of Sweden threat

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Bento plans to keep Ibrahimovic quiet  (©GettyImages)
Bento plans to keep Ibrahimovic quiet (©GettyImages).

Portugal chief Paulo Bento is determined for his side to play close attention to their opponents biggest threat in their World Cup play-off encounter.  

The former Sporting man believes that his team must close down the Swede's in an their attempts to null the threat of "extraordinary" striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who could make all the difference between the two. 

The two-legged play-off has been cited as the battle between two of the worlds best strikers, with the Portugal manager highlighting his opponents talents as he prepares his side. 

Speaking in a press conference this week, Bento stated: "Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a great player, he's also in a great moment with his club. He is extraordinary.

"For us, to try and stop this player we have to make a collective effort and not just be aware of the individual. We need to understand the organisation of Sweden and, on the top of everything, play our game."

In contrast the Portugal boss talked up the ability of his strongest attacking threat Cristiano Ronaldo. Stating his belief that the player deserves the Ballon d'Or, whilst defending his not so impressive international record. 

The former Benfica man continued: "I think it is natural that sometimes the performance is not the same for the national team compared to the club. 

"Right now, he is exceptional. With us, some time ago against Northern Ireland [in September when Ronaldo struck a hat-trick] he was sensational and we count on his skills and motivation.

"We will have to be organised and with this he can play in the same way he is playing for Real Madrid.

"Maybe at other times it would not be a fair win but it would be unfair for Ronaldo not to win [the Ballon d'Or] this year. Right now he is the best player in the world."

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Topics:
World Cup
Football
Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo
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