Cristiano Conundrum: Calls Are Growing for Ronaldo To Be Dropped Ahead of the World Cup After Lacklustre Display Against Spain

It's been a bruising week for Cristiano Ronaldo and not just because of the nasty black eye he suffered following his collision with Czech Republic goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik.

Just a few weeks out from the World Cup, Portugal's biggest star is coming in for more and more criticism over his below-par performances, with many openly asking the question as to whether the team is better off without him.

In Portugal, it's no longer taboo to suggest this talismanic figure, one of the greatest footballers ever to take to the pitch, should step aside and let others have their moment.

The prominent sports daily A Bola ran a front page on Monday that read 'Less Ronaldo, more Portugal', arguing that his lack of regular game time at Manchester United this season invalidated his automatic right to a national team place.

Nonetheless, Fernando Santos still started the 37-year-old in Tuesday night's crucial Nations League fixture against Spain. Portugal lost 1-0 having needed only a point to make the finals and the criticism continued.