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Decision time for Ronaldo as Portugal exit Euro 2008

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 19 Jun 2008

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Both Real Madrid and Manchester United want his services for next season, but Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo must now reveal his future plans after his Euro 2008 heart-break on Thursday.

The Premier League champions want Ronaldo to stay at Old Trafford until 2012, while Real confirmed Thursday they are waiting to hear whether the 23-year-old wants to stay in England or move to Spain.

Having insisted he will only decide after his Euro 2008 campaign is over, the boy from Madeira must announce where his future lies after a below-par performance as Germany inflicted a 3-2 Euro 2008 defeat on Portugal in Basel.

It is easy to see why European giants are fighting for Ronaldo's services.

Last season, he equalled, then obliterated, George Best's record goals tally of 32 in a single season for Manchester United when he scored 42 goals.

He tormented the Czech Republic with a goal and created two more in his side's dazzling 3-1 win in Geneva on June 11, but Ronaldo had a quiet night just when it mattered most at Euro 2008.

He has already suffered from stage fright this season – he missed a penalty in the Champions League semi-final in Barcelona and was below-par in the Moscow final, when he missed a penalty in the shoot-out, though he did score in open play.

And he has a poor record against the top four sides in England's Premier League.

Before the game, Germany's ex-Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann had said before the game he knew the secret to containing Ronaldo which seemed to work as the defence kept him in check.

A good run on the left led to a poor cross after just three minutes and just before the 20 minute mark a pass from Simao into the box gave him a half-chance, but the German defence scrambled away the danger.

But having fallen two goals behind after Bastian Schweinsteiger and Miroslav Klose struck for Germany, Ronaldo helped provide a reply when he broke down the right flank and fired at Lehmann.

His shot was blocked, but Portugal captain Nuno Gomes was on hand to score from the rebound on 40 minutes.

And in stoppage time at the end of the first-half, Ronaldo drove his shot across Lehmann's goal as an equaliser threatened.

After the break, Ronaldo was brought down by German defender Arne Friedrich, who stepped on his ankle as he ran past, just for good measure.

It just about summed up his night.

After Gemany captain Michael Ballack scored Germany's third goal, Ronaldo blasted a free-kick high and wide on 68 minutes before Helder Postiga grabbed a consolation goal with time running out.

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