Ronaldo has Uruguay’s respect but not Coates’ sole focus

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The Portugal superstar poses a considerable threat to the South Americans in the last 16 of World Cup 2018, but they have no special plans for him

Uryguay defender Sebastian Coates has warned his team not to focus solely on Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of their World Cup last-16 clash with Portugal.

Ronaldo has already scored four goals at Russia 2018, helping Fernando Santos’ men progress from Group B.

The Euro 2016 champions face a huge test against Uruguay in Sochi on Saturday, with the South Americans holding a perfect record at this year’s tournament.

But while Ronaldo has scored four of his team’s five goals at the showpiece event, Coates claims Uruguay cannot afford to focus only on the star forward.

“We will defend him with the same respect that we defend others,” he told a news conference.

“He is a worldwide star, but you don’t prepare for a match thinking about one player, but thinking about the team as a whole.”

Ronaldo lifted Portugal to a 3-3 draw against Spain in their opening game, capping a hat-trick with a sensational free-kick.

Uruguay midfielder Matias Vecino said his team would need to be careful not to give Ronaldo too many set-piece chances.

“When there is a [free-kick] specialist in the other team, you have to try to avoid fouls near the area,” he said.

“Sometimes it is inevitable because when one midfielder or striker goes towards the goal to shoot, you have to cut the play before.”

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