Jun 20, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT
The United States men’s national team is not buying the buzz around Cristiano Ronaldo’s potential absence for Sunday’s Group G match-up.
In fact, the Yanks are preparing for one of the world’s best players being at his best, and at least one US player is using an American sports team accomplishment as inspiration.
Jermaine Jones says the United States can be the San Antonio Spurs to Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal’s Miami Heat, referencing the Texas team’s triumph over LeBron James and company in last week’s NBA Finals.
“The NBA finals showed how it works,” Jones said. “The [San Antonio] Spurs were the better team and that is why they won the championship.”
Portugal keeper Beto says Ronaldo is 100 percent, and the U.S. players seem to be planning accordingly. Kyle Beckerman and Fabian Johnson are openly marveling at what CR7 can do, while Jones is saying the team needs to be wary of giving too much attention to the player.
Then there’s Jurgen Klinsmann, who is wary of a fired-up Ronaldo:
“[Portugal] is an even more dangerous team than before,” Klinsmann told reporters in his postgame press conference on Monday night. “When you get that 4-0 result from Germany, now you’re going to come into Manaus pretty angry. And I don’t know how Cristiano Ronaldo behaves when he’s angry.”
We’re assuming like Hulk… the green one (because the Brazilian one is hurt).
As for the NBA talk: if Rip Hamilton is bringing Clint Dempsey his masks, maybe the Spurs can bring the US that ultimate team swagger.
Rip Hamilton is bringing his masks to Brazil just in case Clint Dempsey needs one for Sunday: pic.twitter.com/0yx5habI7n
— NBC Sports Network (@NBCSN) June 19, 2014
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