Soccer / Sports

Weary of questions on Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, U.S. widens view

SAO PAULO -- The U.S. team has been peppered with questions about Cristiano Ronaldo in the run-up to Sunday's game with Portugal in Manaus --so much so that more than a few players have grown tired of answering them.

U.S. midfielder Jermaine Jones found a unique take on that subject, comparing the star power of Portugal to the Miami Heat with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. That individual talent didn't help Miami much in the NBA Finals, where it lost to the dazzling teamwork of the San Antonio Spurs.

"A team is important, not just in two or three players," Jones said. "So if you stick together like a team and fight like a team ... you will win the game. The NBA Finals showed how it works. The Spurs were the better team and that is why they won the championship."

Chris Wondolowski, a candidate to start in place of the injured Jozy Altidore on Sunday, said the U.S. will focus on Ronaldo -- but it won't forget the rest of the Portuguese team.

"We definitely have to stop him," he said of Ronaldo, "but we don't want anyone else to beat us. Right now we're still just fine-tuning that game plan in how to stop that whole team.

"We're not just focusing on one guy because when you do that, (there are) 10 other guys out there that can beat you."

U.S. players weren't the only ones who have grown weary of Ronaldo questions. At Portugal's news conference Friday in Campinas, the majority of the questions were also about Ronaldo and the ice he's been applying to his sore knee during training. Eventually Portuguese striker Helder Postiga snapped.

"After the training today there were 10 players applying ice on themselves," Postiga chided reporters. "That cannot be a reason to create so many rumors about Cristiano.

"Cristiano is training; he's fine. He is going to be important for us. He is going to help the team. We all have a common goal."

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