Ricardo Quaresma insists his Portugal team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo is misunderstood and is not as arrogant as perceived.
The pair played together at Sporting CP in the early 2000s before Ronaldo’s move to Manchester United, and have teamed up regularly for the national side.
The Real Madrid superstar has unquestionably earned a place among the pantheon of the greatest players in history, but his on-field demeanour and sometimes seemingly selfish attitude have drawn criticism in the past.
But Quaresma, who tasted Euro 2016 glory alongside Ronaldo in France earlier this month, has rejected the notion that his team-mate is conceited.
“[Ronaldo] is a person who likes to play. He’s not as arrogant as people paint,” the Besiktas man told Jornal de Noticias.
“And he is a great captain. A person who’s always ready to help our colleagues.
“I have admired him since we started playing at Sporting, because already as kids he showed his strength.
“Sometimes I played with him and [it was] said: ‘you’re small, you’re skinny, you won’t be able to get there’.
“And Cristiano was going into the bathrooms to fill buckets and do weights with buckets. He is a person who never let himself go down for anything or anyone.”
On the knee injury that cut short Ronaldo’s participation in the Euro 2016 final against France, Quaresma said: “What are we thinking? You are missing your leader. He is our leader.
“But the truth is that we gave a good answer and he did not fail to support his colleagues.
“In pain or no pain, and at the time he was in so much pain, he was jumping and pushing everyone so that his colleagues heard.”