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Ronaldo, Bale take different approaches

Cristiano Ronaldo is immaculately groomed, makes a point of posing for the cameras when he scores, is often captured scowling at his colleagues and recently launched his own men’s fragrance called “Legacy”.

Gareth Bale is constantly encouraging his team mates and is described by his manager as “the most down-to-earth boy you could meet.”

The world’s two most expensive footballers, who play alongside each other at Real Madrid, will go head-to-head when Bale’s Wales meet Ronaldo’s Portugal in their Euro 2016 semi-final in Lyon on Wednesday.

In playing terms, both are the leaders of their teams but they take very different approaches to their role.

While Bale is widely acclaimed as an inspiration for his national team, Ronaldo’s influence on Portugal is the subject of debate.

Ronaldo’s team mates routinely leap to his defence and emphasise that he is always working for them.

“Cristiano has worked for the squad and it’s the only the squad which matters here,” said midfielder Andre Gomes.

“Maybe people were expecting more goals, (but) he has made a huge contribution to the national team and it’s not the moment to start questioning a player.”

Coach Fernando Santos added that Ronaldo has sacrificed himself for the team.

“He is an example, as captain, of the spirit of this team, of this team’s determination, he wants to do well and he wants to win, in this aspect he has been fantastic. He’s an example of what the team is,” he said.

Even so, the 31-year-old three-times World Player-of-the-Year has often struggled with an image problem, especially when he said two years ago that Portugal needed “two or three Cristiano Ronaldos.”

He insists on taking every free kick within – and often beyond – shooting distance, prompting suggestions that he is selfish, and is regularly captured on television cameras remonstrating angrily with his team mates.

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