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Ronaldo's four setbacks that can inspire Mbappe after France humiliation


The chances of France going out of Euro 2020 at the last-16 knockout were somewhat slim, but not impossible. Switzerland are no Iceland, after all.

The chances of Kylian Mbappe going the entire tournament without a goal, though, were much lower.

If his club form was anything to go by — 42 goals for the season — Mbappe should have been challenging Romelu Lukaku and Cristiano Ronaldo for the Golden Boot.

Instead, France are on their way home after a 3-3 draw in normal time. When it came down to the penalty shootout, Mbappe was tasked with the decisive kick but saw his effort saved comfortably by Yann Sommer.



Kylian Mbappe reacts after missing his spot-kick in the penalty shootout
Kylian Mbappe reacts after missing his spot-kick in the penalty shootout

It confirmed that their star striker will head back to Paris Saint-Germain with ‘null buts’ beside his name at Euro 2020 for the rest of his career.

His preparation for the tournament was far from ideal, having become embroiled in a bitter row with team-mate Olivier Giroud over not getting the ball in a friendly victory over Ukraine.

Disagreements often happen on the pitch, but this matter should have been nipped in the bud after the game. The fact the row was allowed to drag on for days and disrupt their Euro 2020 preparation was laughable.

There was something off about Mbappe, as if he felt the weight of expectation on him and it made his legs feel heavier. He was missing chances that on a normal day would be gobbled up by any forward.

But it is how players recover from setbacks in careers that separate the good and the great — the perfect example of this being Cristiano Ronaldo — and Mbappe can learn from his bad experiences to help himself move on from a tournament to forget.

Euro 2004



Angelos Charisteas of Greece scores the winner against Portugal in the Euro 2004 final
Angelos Charisteas of Greece scores the winner against Portugal in the Euro 2004 final

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Ronaldo was only 19 when he was called up to Portugal’s Euro 2004 following an impressive debut season with Manchester United.

But the tournament began in humiliating fashion when the hosts lost their opening fixture to Greece 2-1, with Ronaldo’s strike only a consolation.

Portugal recovered with wins against Spain and Russia to top the group and progressed to the final after a penalty shootout win over England in the quarter-final, as well as a 2-1 win over the Czech Republic which Ronaldo scored in.

The Selecao had met Greece in the group stage and suffered defeat, so they were out for revenge when they reached the final.

But it was the in-form Angelos Charisteas who found the winner six minutes from time to stun Portugal and against all the odds, Greece won their first-ever international tournament.

It would take 12 years for Ronaldo to have his day in the sun and he even missed the 2016 final through injury. But he can hang up his boots knowing he has almost won it all and Mbappe will get his chance too.

World Cup 2006



Cristiano Ronaldo winked towards the Portugal bench causing outrage in England
Cristiano Ronaldo winked towards the Portugal bench causing outrage in England

It was arguably the most trying time of Ronaldo’s career when Portugal met England in the World Cup quarter-finals.

After playing out a stalemate for the best part of an hour, tensions boiled over when Wayne Rooney was adjudged to have stamped on Ricardo Carvalho when tussling for the ball.

Ronaldo immediately ran over to the referee to plead for a red card to be shown, much to the anger of his Manchester United team-mate Rooney, and the Argentinian official Horacio Elizondo obliged.

As the winger headed towards the bench, he was caught on camera winking in the direction of the Portugal camp.

It was a cunning and savage act that he later downplayed, but Ronaldo received widespread criticism from the English press when they returned to the UK.

It would take a long time for United fans to forgive him — and some England supporters probably never will. But the fact he kept his place, won two more Premier League titles and scored 42 goals in a single season suggests it didn’t exactly keep him up at night.

Clasico humiliation



Lionel Messi starred as Cristiano Ronaldo struggled in a memorable Clasico
Lionel Messi starred as Cristiano Ronaldo struggled in a memorable Clasico

There is nothing worse than losing to your rivals but for Real Madrid and Jose Mourinho, being pummelled 5-0 by Barcelona is something that can never be wiped from memory.

On a day where Lionel Messi was simply everywhere on the pitch, setting up two goals and wreaking havoc in the Madrid backline, Ronaldo was a bystander.

It was only the beginning of their incredible rivalry as two of the world’s greatest played in LaLiga for the best part of nine years.

The strangest part about this particular defeat was that Real were unbeaten in the league and it was nearly December. But they crumbled under the pressure in the Clasico as Xavi, David Villa (2), Pedro and Jeffren rounded off a resounding victory at Camp Nou.

Ronaldo would go on to use the pain from the defeat as motivation behind his extraordinary goalscoring run, leaving Spain with 310 goals in LaLiga in just 292 appearances.

Given his record of 111 goals in 127 games for PSG, there is little doubt Mbappe will be firing again in no time.

Real Madrid whistles



Cristiano Ronaldo was often whistled by the Real Madrid fans
Cristiano Ronaldo was often whistled by the Real Madrid fans

Hostile atmospheres are part and parcel of the game, with opposition fans often doing their best to wind up players on the other side.

And that isn why it is one of football’s greatest mysteries that Real Madrid’s loyal fans choose to whistle their own players at the Santiago Bernabeu when they are not performing.

Ronaldo was one of those targeted often by the Madridstas, the club’s ultras who sit behind the goal.

Even despite his outstanding goalscoring record and contributions to four of their Champions League triumphs, he was not immune from criticism. Neither was Gareth Bale, but the Welshman had his struggles in Spain; Ronaldo rarely had an off-day.

It eventually saw the Portuguese star head to where he was adored after being applauded off the pitch by Juventus following the 2017 Champions League final. Madrid have not been the same beast since then, while Ronaldo has added two Serie A titles to his extensive trophy collection.

Mbappe has been linked with a big-money switch to the Spanish capital with his contract expiring next summer but the way their stars are treated may give the French star some food for thought.





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