Martinez Previews Portugal x Iceland Qualifier in Reykjavik; Praises Cristiano’s Coming 200 Caps

What do you expect with the new Iceland manager?

“It’s difficult to say because the players are the same. I know Iceland very well because I have had 2 matches there. It’s a very balanced team, defensively aggressive and organized. We’ll have to play a good match. Our dressing room is going through a good moment and I have very positive feelings after the match with Bosnia.”

Will there be changes tomorrow?

“All the players have worked very well. The technical staff is very happy with the work of all the players during our training sessions. Our intention is not to change or make several changes just for the sake of changes. But the match against Bosnia was intense and we have 2 players per position. All the players are available. It will be after training that I will decide the XI. It is important that we play our style of game. Iceland are a very competitive team that we respect a lot. They are very good.”

Team environment?

“I think the spirit of the dressing room, our values as people who are proud to play for Portugal, is all very strong. Then, tactical issues are also important. I saw a team against Bosnia that had a spectacular performance without the ball, but we need to keep growing. The spirit in our locker room is very good.”

Gonçalo Ramos

“Gonçalo Ramos is a very important player and different from other players. He had a very successful and very demanding season and now he needs to rest and prepare for the next season. He is the present and the future of Portugal.”

Defense and Goalkeepers.

“A team with a good attack is important, but if you don’t have a good defense, you can’t win matches. Rui Patrício played 2 good matches in the March training camp, but it’s also good to see Diogo Costa’s form at international level. He had a good defense. spectacular against Bosnia, and the centre-backs had a tough game because they had many more direct balls. A team cannot win only with individual quality. We have to have balance and the attitude was very important.”

“We like to go step by step, it’s important to prepare the game well. I’m very happy with this preparation period because the month of June is important from the point of view of player preparation. As a team, we have a very high technical capacity, we need to play together to raise that capacity even more. We respect Iceland a lot, they have an aggressive game and the quality to score goals quickly. It is, without a doubt, a team different from the others.”

Ronaldo’s 200 caps

“Usually, a player who does the press conference plays, but I never announce the starting eleven or the players, but tomorrow will be a very special game. The first player who has the possibility to make 200 caps will play.”

Rúben Neves to Saudi football

“I like to look at what has been my experience in the last seven years at international level (national teams) and I can say that some players that have left Europe and are in other championships, not just the Saudi, we see their performance lowered because they need championships that match their qualities but with other players the opposite has also happened. They have improved their qualities even more. In the case of Rúben Neves, it is an incredible opportunity for him in many ways. It’s a new league. Since Cristiano Ronaldo joined, Saudi football is a different market. It will not interfere in any way with Rúben Neves’ role [in the national team]. We are all very excited for him. It will make him even more mature, something he has always been – at 18 he was already playing for FC Porto, but I think it will make him even more mature.”

More words about Cristiano Ronaldo’s 200 caps

“When you get 50 caps, it’s kind of a reward for your career. When you get 100 caps, it’s an iconic moment in your career and Cristiano Ronaldo is now the first player to reach 200 caps. It’s an achievement that reflects what his career has been, the way he stays prepared, how he stays connected to the game. He deserves it. It’s very difficult to play games at this international level. The competition is always very high. Cristiano Ronaldo has been with the team for 20 years for the national team of Portugal. He is an iconic football figure. We are very excited for him.”