Sat, 24 Jul 2021

By Oliver Trust

BERLIN, June 18 (Xinhua) -- By Saturday evening, German defender Matthias Ginter might know all about Portugal superstar Cristiano Ronaldo's tips and tricks.

Being appointed the 36-year-old's guard in Germany's second Group F encounter, the 27-year-old Moenchengladbach central has spent more time in enlightening video sessions than most of his teammates.

"I will take a close look at the clips provided by our scouting staff," Ginter said, admitting he has several times met on the club level.

It won't be a blockbuster "the best of" fans around the world love, but a pragmatic analysis of the Portugal team captain's unique skills.

"You can always spot something new when watching his games," Ginter said, calling CR7 a never-dwindling source of inspiration.

Ginter's preparations follow a familiar pattern as he relied on a similar strategy ahead of his duel against French superstar Kylian Mbappe.

As efforts in Germany's tournament opener paid off, Ginter won nearly all of his direct duels.

Despite Ronaldo's exceptional qualities: "it might be a mistake only to observe him as Portugal seems to count on a wide range of skillful strikers," Ginter stated.

Portugal is more than just Ronaldo, but "he is their leader and still one of football's very best," the German defender said.

Statistics speak in favor of Germany when meeting the Portuguese in majors.

At the Euros in 2008 (3-2 in quarterfinals) and 2012 (1-0 in group stage) and the World Cups in 2006 (3-1 in the match for third place) and 2014 (4-0 in group stage), Ronaldo never managed to score.

"I remember the enthusiasm after our win in Brazil in our opener, but I was a 20-year-old upstart substitute and not on the pitch in that game," Ginter said.

Things have changed since then, and Ginter developed into one of Joachim Loew's most reliable forces and, from the German coaches' perspective, the right man to look after Ronaldo.

Like Loew, Ginter is impressed by the Portuguese' endurance over many years, always criticized but never at a loss for a convincing answer.

In advance of Euro 2020, the Portuguese genius seems to have found another suitable response.

Not only two goals against Hungary, which made him Euro's most successful striker, might be a perfect starting point, but also his determination of defending the title.

"You need to learn how to suffer and still fight right until the end. The European Championship is a luxury stage only giving room to the best of the best," Ronaldo said.

Needless to say, he feels comfortable to be seen as one of football's shining stars, always under observation by fans, media, and opponents such as Matthias Ginter.

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