By Thomas Reynolds
29th June 2018
Forget Cristiano Ronaldo vs Luis Suarez, Portugal’s odds of overcoming Uruguay in the sides’ World Cup 2018 round of 16 tie may have more to do with how much change their talisman can get two of the Celeste’s other La Liga stars.
Ronaldo is 13/10 favourite in the anytime goalscorer odds, but in order to frustrate Uruguay win to nil odds backers he will have to do something he has never done before in his paradigm-destroying career.
Not one of the 311 league goals the Real Madrid legend has notched since his arrival in Spain have come against an Atletico Madrid side featuring the Uruguay central-defensive pairing Diego Godin and Jose Maria Gimenez.
CR7 has played against an Atleti side replete with both men on six occasions without scoring so far, starting all bar one of those games and playing 27 minutes plus injury time of the other after entering the fray as a substitute.
Four of meetings saw the Uruguayan duo paired against the cryo-chamber-loving marksman, while two saw Godin start and his countryman introduced from the bench.
Uruguay have yet to concede in the tournament and have now landed the win to nil odds in six successive internationals.
Their chances of extending that shutout success streak will be enhanced by Gimenez’s return from the injury which had forced him to sit out their victory over Russia.
There was doubtless a groan in the Ronaldo household when the news that Godin’s tag-team partner will be fit to start in Sochi. The Uruguay win to nil odds against Portugal are 14/5.
For Ronaldo, his teammates, manager Fernando Santos, the Portuguese populace and his legions of fans across the globe, a modicum of hope can be gleaned from two facts.
He has netted 17 goals in as many games against Atletico (six penalties) when Godin featured but Gimenez was absent, while the Portugal star hasn’t had an opportunity to break his duck against the pragmatic pairing since May 2017.
Intrigued? Read our Uruguay vs Portugal odds preview.