Doha (Qatar), Dec 9 (IANS): Portuguese midfielder Joao Felix has played down the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo from the starting lineup which took the field against Switzerland, resulting in an overwhelming 6-1 win and a passage to the quarterfinals against Morocco on Saturday.
Goncalo Ramos, Ronaldo's replacement in the strike force, responded by scoring a hat-trick becoming the FIFA World Cup 2022's first hat-trick scorer and his first international triple.
The 23-year-old Atletico Madrid midfielder Felix said the presence or absence of Ronaldo on the pitch did not make much of a difference in the style of play as Selecão da Quintas had their own style of play and philosophy which they believe in.
"The tactic is the same whether he (Ronaldo) is there or not, since the first game we have used the same tactic. He has characteristics that others don't have, there are others who have others, after all, the team always has the same identity," said Felix, while speaking at the pre-match press conference on Friday.
"I don't feel (an) obligation to pass the ball to Cristiano. We always try to find the best solution, but everyone has their own opinion. For my part, I don't feel that pressure to always pass the ball to him. When he's giving things that others don't. If he's on the pitch, we play differently because he brings things to the game. It is not by playing or not playing that the team will play better or worse," he said.
The former Benfica player, who has been linked to several clubs in the upcoming transfer window, did not wish to talk about his impending club transfer and instead focused his energy on the World Cup.
"I won't talk about Atletico Madrid and my future right now. I will only talk about it after the World Cup. I'm 100% focused on the World Cup, I represent my country here. As long as the class of '99 will represent Portugal in Qatar, there will be no talk of Atletico Madrid," who has been compared to Brazilian great Kaka after his superlative show in the midfield.