Spain 'united' Ahead Of Clash With Ronaldo's Portugal
Sochi, Russia, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News, app - 15th Jun, 2018 ) :Spain captain Sergio Ramos and new coach Fernando Hierro displayed a united front as they looked ahead to Friday's World Cup opener against Cristiano Ronaldo's European champions Portugal following an extraordinary 48 hours.
But Wednesday's sensational decision by the Spanish Football Federation to sack Lopetegui, in response to the announcement he would take over at Real Madrid after the tournament, has threatened to derail their chances.
"There is nobody better than Fernando. He was a great player and has known us for a long time," said Ramos, the Spain captain.
But Ramos showed an eagerness to move on and focus on the competition, while insisting that this week's events had not upset any relationships.
"This is special, it is my first World Cup as captain. In football you learn above all during the bad times. What has happened has united us." There were plenty of smiles and embraces between the players as they trained on the pitch in the stunning Sochi stadium, situated a stone's throw from the beach and the Black Sea.
He described the day he was sacked as "the saddest day of my life since the death of my mother", and the 51-year-old former goalkeeper will surely find it difficult to watch Friday's match.
"We are absolutely fine coming into this game. We know quite clearly what we want. We respect the champions but we have full confidence in the boys and what they have done in these last two years," said Hierro.
- Ronaldo's last chance? - Spain will be coming up against a Portuguese side who have come to Russia as the defending European champions, with Ronaldo knowing this is surely his last shot at winning the World Cup.
Ronaldo, meanwhile, is hoping to improve his record in front of goal on this stage -- he has scored only three times in three World Cups.
"I prefer to have him on our side. We know how important he is, he is a constant danger," admitted Ramos of his Real Madrid colleague.
"This is a 'Classico'", said Santos. "We are two countries who have a lot in common, not least the fact we share a border. We are neighbours, but also teams with great quality.""We don't want to be arrogant but we are full of hope."as/nr