Cristiano Ronaldo's first match at Euro 2016 ended with two free-kicks into the defensive wall. He allegedly left the pitch without a handshake and then complained about the opposition.
But the World Footballer of the Year himself was far from his best as Portugal were surprisingly held 1-1 by tiny newcomers Iceland in their tournament opener.
Portugal dominated but were wasteful, with Ronaldo failing to score from promising positions such as with a late header.
Ronaldo, 31, may have 112 million followers on Facebook - almost 400 times more than Iceland inhabitants, roughly 300,000.
But their major trophy collection is the same: zero.
As a result, Ronaldo must now prove he is a king of football when he comes to the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on Saturday to face Austria who themselves are reeling after losing 2-0 to their former dual monarchy partners Hungary.
"It's a game Portugal will try to win against a good team. We have to take advantage of the chances we get. I am confident that things will go better than today," he said.
Ronaldo also said that several players on his team were playing their first game at a big championship and added that others like holders Spain and hosts France also had difficulties in their first games, which they however won.
Nani, who scored Portugal's goal, named the draw "a signal for us that we have to win the next games" against Austria and Hungary."
Ronaldo may also want to reconsider his behaviour as whined Tuesday that Iceland displayed "a small mentality" by defending. He added: "I thought they won the Euro cup the way they congratulated (each other) - it was unbelievable."
This led to a profound bashing in social media and the regular media but coach Fernando Santos came to his defence.
"You shouldn't make too much of such statements shortly after a game. The players are on fire and sometimes voice their opinions," Santos said Wednesday.
Ronaldo came closest to a national team title in 2004 when Portugal were ambushed by Greece 1-0 in the Lisbon final of the home event.
Portugal then reached the quarter-finals in 2008 and semis in 2012, plus the World Cup semis in 2006, but he remains unfulfilled just as past Portugal generations with the likes of Luis Figo or the late Eusebio.
Ronaldo appeared below par in St Etienne against Iceland, just as in the recent Champions League final, although he converted Real Madrid's deciding penalty there in a shoot-out against Atletico Madrid.
He was not fully fit in the final stages of another gruelling club season, but that will not count come Saturday.
Ronaldo remains Portugal's undisputed leader, and will also be the outright record-capped player then with 128 games, breaking a tie with Figo.
"He is a fantastic role model every day. He gives everyone advice and always looks after the team," defender Cedric Soares has said.
Monday, July 11, 2016 - 02:07
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