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Iceland’s Lars Lagerback: Portugal’s Pepe and Ronaldo could be in Hollywood

Iceland's coach Lars Lagerback listens during a news conference ahead of their Euro 2016 qualification soccer match against Latvia in Riga

Lars Lagerback has raised the temperature before Iceland’s Euro 2016 tie against Portugal on Tuesday by describing Cristiano Ronaldo as an “excellent actor” and Pepe as “someone who could be in Hollywood”.

The Iceland manager, who has led the country to a first major finals, is tired of the diving antics of certain players and, if he had his way, he would see them punished retrospectively by the authorities.

He has turned the spotlight on two of Portugal’s biggest names, having watched Pepe’s histrionics in the Champions League final for Real Madrid against Atlético Madrid with particular disgust. Pepe was guilty of clutching his face in apparent agony in an attempt to get his opponents into trouble. Ronaldo also played in that final for Real and he scored the winning penalty in the shootout.

“We’ve seen some Portuguese players diving,” Lagerback said. “Portugal have one of the best players in the world in Ronaldo but he’s also an excellent actor. In the final of the Champions League against Atlético, we saw another performance from someone who could be in Hollywood. I don’t like that. I’d like it if they were able to watch the videos to retrospectively punish that sort of thing.

“I mention Pepe – I mean, you can see the clips. I am sure you have seen them yourself. For me, that is acting, really, of high class. But I don’t know what demands they have in Hollywood. Maybe he can’t go in there and get a job. I’m not a professional in that area.

“I have said many, many times that the acting in football – not only in Portugal, all over the world and maybe, even, in Iceland – they should change the rules and bring in possibilities to suspend players through video after the game. It is something that should be taken away from football.”

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by David Hytner in Paris, for The Guardian on Sunday 12th June 2016 20.26 Europe/London

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