Portugal defender Cedric Soares hailed team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo as the “best in the world” on Friday as the Real Madrid superstar aims to become the leading scorer in European Championship history.
“Cristiano is the best in the world, he’s shown that many times,” said Southampton defender Cedric, with Portugal kicking off their Euro 2016 campaign against Group F rivals Iceland on Tuesday.
“(Paul) Pogba and (Antoine) Griezmann are fantastic players, but we can’t compare them with Cristiano,” said Cedric, when asked about which players could star in France.
“The two are good players, but Cristiano is on another level,” he added.
Cedric called Ronaldo “the leader of the team”, and the Real forward is three goals shy of equalling Michel Platini’s tally of nine European Championship goals — all of which came at the 1984 finals won on home soil by France.
“He feels really good and he’s very motivated. He’s an example for us every day, we have a chance to listen to his advice. I try to always pay attention to what he says.”
Portugal were the last of the 24 teams to arrive in France, reaching their Marcoussis base camp, to the south of Paris, on Thursday to a warm welcome from around 1,000 supporters.
“It was a fantastic reception,” said Cedric. “We’re pleased to be welcomed here as Portugal. It’s a big tournament and we can’t wait for it to start.”
Portugal face Iceland in Saint-Etienne before taking on Austria at the Parc des Princes on June 18, with their final group match four days later against Hungary in Lyon.