Abidal: Ronaldo injury gave Portugal an advantage in Euro final

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The now-retired left back joked that the Real Madrid star was not really missed by his nation on their way to the title, and tipped Umtiti to keep improving at Camp Nou.

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Former Barcelona star Eric Abidal has suggested that Cristiano Ronaldo’s early injury helped Portugal on their way to victory in the Euro 2016 final.

The striker played just a handful of minutes against France before limping off the pitch, and he watched on as Eder scored the decisive goal in extra time.

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And according to Abidal, that withdrawal was actually in Portugal’s best interests.

“France had a good tournament, they were unlucky because if Gignac scored then it would have been finished, give us the trophy,” he explained to Grup 14.

“Ronaldo was out because he was injured and it was a problem for France and an advantage for Portugal (laughs).

“Portugal was more relaxed without Ronaldo, the players there normally play for Ronaldo but without him the team spirit is different, there was no stress.

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“But for France, it was a shock because Ronaldo is not on the pitch, we have to fight more. Look who scored the goal for Portugal, some guy from the back who has never played before.”

Abidal, who played for Barcelona for six seasons and overcame a liver tumour to resume his professional football career, also had high praise for new Blaugrana and France defensive prospect Samuel Umtiti.

“He is 23 years old. He is training with the best players and he can have a good future but it always depends on the player and what he can achieve,” he said.

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“It depends on his goals and his mentality. He is playing with the best club in the world. He plays with the national team and paved the way for many more years. Football is complicated but he has a good place. He has talent and he is lucky, he is also very humble.”

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