Spain not to be distracted by Ronaldo

 

Soccer:Spain defender Alvaro Arbeloa has warned his team-mates not to fall into the trap of assuming Cristiano Ronaldo is the only threat that Portugal pose to their hopes of progressing through to the Euro 2012 final.

Ronaldo has carried his stunning form with Real Madrid last season into the finals and heads into tomorrow’s semi-final against Iberian rivals Spain as the tournament’s joint leading scorer with three goals.

The world’s most expensive player undoubtedly poses a major risk to Spain’s hopes of defending their European title, but Arbeloa believes his side would be making a big mistake if they focused all their attention on the former Manchester United star.

Right-back Arbeloa, who could find himself going head-to-head against his Madrid team-mate tomorrow, said today: “We all know that Ronaldo is an excellent player, but Portugal is not only Cristiano. They have had an excellent tournament with players of great quality and we have stop all of them, not only Cristiano.

“We know how good he is, and he is showing that at the Euros. We hope that we have a good game and Cristiano not so much.”

Arbeloa admits he is looking forward to the challenge of trying stopping his club-mate, who scored 60 goals in all competitions for Madrid last season. Arbeloa said: “It’s always physically and mentally demanding to face a player who is one of the best and playing at a spectacular level. I always like to measure myself against the best, it’s a great challenge.”

Ronaldo is not the only Madrid player Spain are set to come up against tomorrow night, with defenders Pepe and Fabio Coentrao also key members of the Portugal side.

Those three, along with Spanish quintet Arbeloa, Iker Casillas, Xabi Alonso, Sergio Ramos and Raul Albiol, helped Madrid win their first Primera Division title since 2008 last season.

However, Arbeloa warned his Portuguese colleagues not to expect any favours tomorrow, saying: “It’s the same as when you are at your clubs and you play against team-mates from the national side. Tomorrow I will have not club-mates, they will be enemies.

“I don’t usually speak with the people against who I’m going to play. I will fight to help Spain get into the final.”

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