Iceland defender Kari Arnason has hit back after Portugal skipper Cristiano Ronaldo criticised his side’s tactics in the wake of their Euro 2016 draw, claiming his petulant outburst proved why Lionel Messi has a superior standing in the game.
Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo poked fun at Iceland’s post-match celebrations after the least populated nation to ever qualify for a European Championship snared a point on their debut showing at a major tournament. Ronaldo said that Iceland had a “small mentality”.
Ronaldo cut a forlorn figure at times during the 1-1 draw in Saint-Etienne, and former Plymouth, Rotherham and Aberdeen centre-half Arnason was not prepared to entertain Ronaldo’s bleating.
“He’s a fantastic footballer but he’s not a gracious human being,” said Arnason. “His comments are the reason why Messi is always going to be one step ahead of him. You wouldn’t expect Messi to say that. It shows we got under his skin. It was lovely to hear.
“It makes it even sweeter when he’s a sore loser like that. He can say whatever he wants. He didn’t really get a chance. What can I say? Sore loser. Tough s***. What does he expect, for us to play like Barcelona against him? He fannies and dives around.”
A point means that Iceland and Portugal both trail Hungary, who beat Austria in their opening fixture on Tuesday, at the summit of Group F.