Carlos Queiroz has lamented that Cristiano Ronaldo did not show his current match-winning form when the pair were together with Portugal.
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Ronaldo suffered a frustrating time in the Portuguese side when Queiroz was manager from 2008 to 2010, and has performed better under current boss Paulo Bento -- never more so than in Tuesday’s World Cup playoff second leg when his hat trick ensured qualification for next summer’s finals in Brazil.
Current Iran coach Queiroz told Portuguese paper Record that he was happy Ronaldo had played so well, but just wished he had shown such an ability to rise to the occasion when Portugal lost to Spain at World Cup 2010.
“Congratulations to Cristiano,” he said. “If he had played like that, at that height of responsibility, we would have beaten Spain.”
Queiroz was criticised in Portugal for his defensive tactics at the tournament in South Africa, when his team beat North Korea 7-0, but were scoreless in all three other games, including the 1-0 last 16 defeat against eventual champions Spain.
Asked in mixed-zone after that game why his side had lost, captain Ronaldo reportedly replied: “Ask Queiroz.”
Just months after that tournament the former Real Madrid coach and Manchester United assistant manager was sacked by the Portuguese FA amid allegations of insulting behaviour directed at anti-doping testers.
He took charge of Iran in 2011, and has easily qualified the Asians for next summer’s tournament in Brazil, where he could meet his former team.