Former Swansea City manager Carlos Carvalhal has leapt to the defence of Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo.

Despite Portugal beating Czech Republic 4-0 in the UEFA Nations League on Saturday night, the Portuguese local media questioned whether their national captain should be starting under Fernando Santos.

Czech Republic v Portugal: UEFA Nations League - League Path Group 2
Photo by Thomas Eisenhuth/Getty Images

As per Sport Witness, Portuguese newspaper Correio da Manhã yesterday featured a story claiming there’s now reportedly some criticism towards the 37-year-old in the national team dressing room.

Last week, Benfica star Rafa Silva caught everyone in Portugal by surprise by retiring from international football at the age of 29.

Relaying Correio da Manhã’s comments, Sport Witness cite that Silva’s retirement was down to Portugal being ‘obsessed’ with starting with Ronaldo.

Carlos Carvalhal leaps to the defence of Cristiano Ronaldo

Photo by MICHAL CIZEK/AFP via Getty Images

Portugal face Spain tonight in a winner takes all clash at the Estadio Municipal de Braga.

If the Selecao avoid defeat to Luis Enrique’s side then they will advance to the Nations League finals.

Ahead of tonight’s big game, former Sheffield Wednesday and Swansea manager Carvalhal, who currently works at Al Wahda, has defended the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.

The 56-year-old took to Twitter to show his support for United’s number seven, pointing out this is a time to be backing him instead of criticising.

Carvalhal’s post translates: “Ingratitude. One of the best players of all time, who has always played with pride for our national team, when perhaps for the first time, he needs support… many turn their backs and only criticise him. Maybe today they won’t blush with shame… Strength Portugal, strength CR7.”

Ronaldo only has one goal to his name this season and that came via the penalty spot in United’s 2-0 Europa League win against Sheriff Tirapsol.

The spot-kick was the former Juventus man’s 699th club goal during his glittering career.

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