Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

EURO 2004;ronaldo's the Golden Boy for Portugal

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

EURO 2004;ronaldo's the Golden Boy for Portugal

Article excerpt

Byline: IAN CHADBAND

Spain 0 Portugal 1

WHO needs Wayne Rooney when you've got Cristiano Ronaldo?

As an exultant nation nursed a million sore heads today after the party to beat them all in Lisbon, Portugal fancied-their teenage prodigy to outdo our teenage prodigy should, as everyone here now believes, they meet England in Thursday's quarterfinal.

The twinkle-toed Manchester United starlet, who proved a key figure in the hosts' wonderful and historic triumph over their traditionally superior neighbours from Spain, told Standard Sport: "I don't know who I prefer to play now - Croatia or England - and the only thing that matters is that we've given Portugal an evening of joy. I'm just so happy to be playing at all."

Yet his team-mates reckon that, whoever is next, the lad's wizardry makes him the one most likely to help a nation find even more joy.

"Wayne Rooney is excellent, doing very well for a player who is just 18 but don't forget we too have someone who is very good at just 19," said Portuguese defender Jorge Andrade.

"I have to congratulate Cristiano Ronaldo because he had such a very good game against Spain.

You could say he's our Rooney because they're both so young, so talented and are making such a big impression in this event."

Ronaldo was trusted with a starting role for the first time in the competition and rewarded coach Luiz Felipe Scolari with some of his best Riverdance stuff in a marvellous contest which, for the sake of an increasingly enthralling tournament, needed a home win to keep that momentum going. The youngster helped Portugal play a flowing, committed game which could hardly have been in starker contrast to the dismal stuff they served up in the tournament's opening game.

The overriding impression was of a team which appears to at last have the force with them. …

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