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HindustanTimes Sun,23 Nov 2014

Football

Portugal not just about Ronaldo: Costa
AFP
Opalenica, Poland, June 23, 2012
First Published: 19:58 IST(23/6/2012)
Last Updated: 20:00 IST(23/6/2012)
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during the Euro 2012 quarter-final soccer match against Czech Republic at the National stadium in Warsaw. Reuters/Peter Andrews

Euro 2012 semi-finalists Portugal are most definitely not a one-man band even if Cristiano Ronaldo is their 'emblem,'defender Ricardo Costa said on Saturday.

"This team is a group - and Cristiano is the emblem, there's no doubt of that.

"He is not just another player. But we are not dependent upon him, but upon all 23 of us, the coach (Paulo Bento) and everyone connected with the team," said Costa.

After a slow start to the competition, Ronaldo has caught fire with three goals in the last two matches - including the header which sank the Czechs in the quarter-finals - to set up a semi-final date with either defendign champions Spain or France.

"He is at the zenith of his career, he is the complete player. There is no point looking for adjectives to qualify his qualities. He is an excellent player and an  excellent friend," said Costa, who will have to shift Ronaldo's Real Madrid clubmate Pepe in order to get game time.

"Pepe has had an excellent season and has helped us a lot. When people say he is one of the best I agree."

Regarding who he would prefer to face in the semis, Costa, who had to step in during training to keep the peace betwen two team-mates Ricardo Quaresma and Miguel Lopes, said he was not bothered.

"It's all the same to me - we will have to play one or the other. The important thing is to be ready.

"France are undergoing a reconstruction - but I know they are a tough team.

"Yet the key thing for is our own state of mind whoever we are up against."


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