WARSAW: Portugal midfielder Joao Moutinho would rather have team mate Cristiano Ronaldo in his side than Argentine great Lionel Messi.
“Ronaldo and Messi, those are the two best players in the world,” Moutinho told reporters on Wednesday ahead of Portugal's Euro 2012 quarter-final clash with the Czech Republic in the Polish capital on Thursday.
“I think that Cristiano is a very complete player in all aspects, Messi is too but these two players, they differ from another. I would prefer Ronaldo.”
Moutinho was answering just one of many Ronaldo-related questions that dominated both Czech and Portuguese news conferences at the National Stadium.
Czech captain Tomas Rosicky was at least afforded the courtesy of commenting on his recovery from injury before questions on the world's most expensive player began.
How could the Czechs stop the flying winger? What plans did they have for him? Moutinho and coach Paulo Bento were bombarded with Ronaldo talk right from the start when it was Portugal's turn to face the media.
The Porto midfielder, showing no signs of irritation, said it was “natural to talk about him all the time”.
“Ronaldo is a leader. A complete player. Good in the air, good with his feet,” he said.
Bento, told that Rosicky had said Ronaldo did not like to defend, was asked if he let his forward do what he liked on the pitch.
“I don't just let him play. Of course there are instructions for him,” said the coach.
“I have heard the saying 'talent can be very stressful'. He has a lot of talent, but I will give him the best information to cope with the task.”