The Portuguese national football team were greeted by a rousing reception fromÂ estimated 10,000 supportersÂ upon their arrival at their Neuchatel training baseÂ in SwitzerlandÂ on Sunday night. But if they thought they wouldn’t get better support than that during their Euro 2008 preparations, they should’ve thought again. An estimated 12,000 supporters gathered at Neuchatel Xamax FC’s Stade de la Maliniere stadiumÂ to see Portuguese head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari put his players through their paces.
There was another rousing reception for Scolari’s men as they took to the field, and the players themselves returned the applause they received back to the fans packed in the stands. Unsurprisingly however, the biggest cheer was reserved for Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo, who was selected by Scolari as one of the team’s five captains.
During the training session, the fans were treated to an eleven a side match, with goalkeeper Rui Patricio being the unlucky one who missed out, due to his status as third-choice goalkeeper.
Albeit just being a practice match, it was a very serious game, as all the players were keen to impress in front of the watchful Scolari, who acted as referee for the match. This was emphasised when Cristiano Ronaldo charged down goalkeeper Ricardo’s clearence and drove the ball intoÂ an empty net, and then met Ricardo’s claim for handball with a very stern wag of his finger. However, soon after, the fans were treated to the trademark Ronaldo free kick, as the Manchester United midfielder fired a fierce shot past the helpless Ricardo.
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