Bale vs Ronaldo: "I don't see any special bad blood between them"

ESPN and Radio Marca football writer chats to Team 33 about Wales vs Portugal

Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Real Madrid

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, right, celebrates his goal with Real Madrid's Gareth Bale, left, during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Sevilla and Real Madrid at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium in Sevilla, Spain, Saturday, May 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

In terms of narrative, the clash of Real Madrid team-mates Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale is an easy way to bill the Euro 2016 semi-final between Portugal and Wales.

But while Bale has had a decent championship, Ronaldo has been under-par apart from one group match against Hungary. 

Portugal's 4-4-2 diamond was set up to try and help Ronaldo with the pace of Nani alongside him up front.

But according to ESPN and Radio Marca's Eduardo Alvarez, the Portuguese team appear to be reducing their reliance on their captain as he struggles to find his best goalscoring form.

Among the players to step up are Nani, Ricardo Quaresma and 18-year-old sensation Renato Sanches.

"Ronaldo is far from his best and Portugal have needed to use the talent of other players more so than Ronaldo's," Eduardo told Team 33.

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after he missed a penalty during the Euro 2016 Group F soccer match between Portugal and Austria at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, France, Saturday, June 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner

"Ronaldo has not been there in his usual finishing shape - at least in the last couple of matches. We saw him miss a few chances in the quarter-final match so I don't think they're playing for Ronaldo any more. I believe if Ronaldo's at the end of the play, that's fine but we've seen that other Portugal players have decided to give it a go from distance or to try and finish plays by themselves and not necessarily trying to find Ronaldo." 

Eduardo, who is a socio at Real Madrid, also spoke about the so-called Bale-Ronaldo rivalry and the talk that there is tension between the pair, which he feels is well wide of the mark.  

"What I've heard is that they are not friends but it's not that they don't like each other. Bale is an extremely shy person as far as most people that have met him say," he said.

"He's a different kind of character from the usual footballer that we've grown accustomed to see in the media. He's a low-profile guy and Ronaldo was never that type of person, so it's only logical that they don't go out with each other for drinks and stuff like that. But that's very different to saying that they don't like each other. I think they get along fine on the pitch and I don't see any special bad blood between them."

Listen to the full chat at the start of this week's podcast or stream on iTunes