Cristiano Ronaldo is under no more pressure than the rest of Portugal's squad to deliver FIFA World Cup success, coach Paulo Bento insists.
Portugal opened their campaign in shambolic fashion, capitulating to a 4-0 drubbing by Germany - a game which saw Pepe sent off and Ronaldo's threat quelled throughout.
The Real Madrid star has been plagued with a troublesome knee problem and was seen training wearing a brace on the joint this week, with some reports suggesting his participation at the tournament may have been under threat due to the issue.
Bento, however, hinted his captain will make their crucial clash with the United States on Sunday in Manaus, claiming he only has concerns over the fitness of defender Bruno Alves.
And although Ronaldo will be key to any hopes Portugal have of advancing through the tournament, Bento is taking full responsibility for the side's fortunes.
He said: "I would never put on his (Ronaldo's) shoulders or anybody else to solve problems. It is down to me.
"The players have the collective responsibility of playing.
"I do not put pressure on him, I would never put on his shoulders the responsibility of solving our problems."
Should Fenerbahce defender Alves fail to recover in time for the USA game, Bento confirmed Zenit's Luis Neto will step in.
The Portugal boss also called on his side to draw on their wealth of experience in the Amazon heat, with three points required to realistically keep their hopes of progression alive.
He added: "The game has to be played in an emotional, tactical and physical manner. The mature teams do better and we are a mature team.
"We know that we may not be able to start quickly and we will have to be coherent to give a response. This won't be a different game, we have 90 minutes to play and 90 minutes to win."comments