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Belgium’s Lukaku says Ronaldo will like his power



Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku does not mind comparisons with Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of the Euro last 16 clash with Portugal, and says he boasts one attribute the football great should envy.

“I will like to have his dribbling skills and his shooting technique. And, he will certainly like my power,” Lukaku told reporters on Friday.

The 28-year-old goes into Sunday’s clash in Seville on three goals at the competition with Ronaldo leading the way on five.

But Lukaku believes he is in the form of his life.

“I think in the last two years I have reached a new level. It’s not just good form any more,” he said.

“Winning the Italian championship with Inter Milan gives me great motivation to win the title with the national team at the European Championship as well.”

Belguim are the top-ranked side in the world and Lukaku says now is the time for the “golden generation” to lift a first major trophy.

“I think the moment has come,” he said.

“When I think back to the 2018 World Cup and the semi-final against France (a 0-1 defeat), we wanted to play beautiful football then. And that ultimately cost us the victory.

“Now we know how we have to play. And Portugal is the best test for that.”

Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois meanwhile is not complaining about his team being handed a potential difficult path through the knock-out phase if they are to achieve glory.

“It is a difficult way. But that is also the best way,” Courtois said on Friday at the team camp.

“That’s fantastic. At the World Cup we have also played against Brazil and France.”

Belgium won all three games in qualifying from Group B to be rewarded with a match against a third-place team on Sunday, which turned out to be defending champions Portugal.

And should Belgium dispatch Ronaldo’s title-holders, an Italy side on a by then 31-game unbeaten run will likely wait in the quarter-finals before world champions France in the last four.

Portugal finished third but behind France and Germany, and Courtois believes they are “even stronger” than when they lifted the trophy five years ago.

Courtois, though, is optimistic. “We are also not the easiest opponents,” he said with a smile. “It counts from now. All or nothing.

“We have been given this draw, (and) so we have to go through it.”

Olawale Alabi

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