BY MONICA IHEAKAM with Agency report
Two players that would be the cynosure of all eyes today as Wales and Portugal go to war in the Euro 2016 semi-final in Lyon are the Real Madrid duo of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.
Spanish giants, Real Madrid, paid a combined £166million for both players who won two Champions League titles in three years
Today’s game in Lyons, would be Portugal’s fifth European championship semi final and fourth in the last five editions of the tournament.
Wales in contrast has no pedigree in international level and are playing their first major tournament in 58 years and their first ever semi final.
This game would be so much more than just a two-man tie between the two Real Madrid stars . Bale is yet to taste victory in five matches against his colleague and both sides would be delighted to reach the semi-final after not being among the favorites before the Euro 2016 tournament.
Ronaldo and Bale have never faced each other in a full international competition. Their countries last meeting was in 2000 in Chaves, with Portugal prevailing 3-0.
Just two goals in five games represents a disappointing haul for Ronaldo and his team-mate admits his performances have fallen below their expectations
Portugal have had to play into extra-time in both of their knockout matches so far against Croatia and Poland, with the quarter-final with Poland going to penalties. The big question is whether they have enough left in the tank to go through against a buoyant Wales side who saw off both Northern Ireland and Belgium within 90 minutes.
Portugal reached the semi-finals four years ago losing to Spain on penalties.
This is the furthest Wales have gone in a major tournament.
Bale has three goals at the tournament whereas Ronaldo has two.
Portugal have won two of the last three games between the two countries.