Frank Leboeuf, a Euro 2000 winner and a stalwart of the footballing world, has sparked controversy with his recent comments regarding Portugal's Euro 2024 prospects, suggesting that the team's chances may hinge on the exclusion of Cristiano Ronaldo. The former Chelsea defender, who famously lifted the World Cup with France in 1998, voiced his opinion during an interview with sports betting site BetVictor.

Leboeuf's sentiments reflect a bold assertion: “For me, Portugal are actually one of the contenders for this summer's European Championships. I actually think they can win the Euros, but only if Cristiano Ronaldo doesn't play.” His rationale delves into the delicate balance between respect for Ronaldo's illustrious career and the pragmatic need for Portugal to evolve beyond dependence on the aging superstar.

Acknowledging Ronaldo's legacy, Leboeuf remarked, “You cannot take away anything that Ronaldo has done for football just because he has gone to retire in the Saudi Pro League.” However, he questioned the necessity of Ronaldo's continued presence at the top level, especially given his relocation to a less competitive league. “He has every right to play in Saudi Arabia, although I'm not sure he needed even more money!” Leboeuf quipped, alluding to Ronaldo's lucrative move.

Ronaldo's international record has been impressive, captaining Portugal through Euro 2024 qualifiers and netting crucial goals. Yet, Leboeuf highlights a disparity between Ronaldo's prolific scoring in qualifiers and friendlies and his less stellar performance in major tournaments. The forward's advancing age, coupled with his shift to club football away from elite competition, prompts Leboeuf to advocate for Portugal's evolution beyond their reliance on the veteran icon.

As Portugal navigates the challenges of Euro 2024, the debate surrounding Ronaldo's role within the team intensifies. Leboeuf's perspective adds a layer of complexity to the discussion, emphasizing the need for Portugal to transition towards a new era of footballing prowess. With the tournament looming, all eyes remain on Portugal and their potential to succeed, with or without their legendary talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo.