Cesc questions Ronaldo influence

Ronaldo has started Russia 2018 with inspiring form, netting four times in the opening two fixtures, including a hattrick against Spain.

However, Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas believes the hype surrounding the current Ballon d'Or holder is misleading based on his performances thus far.

"These days, Cristiano Ronaldo has a very different role for Portugal -- he mainly stays up front and you no longer see him running all over the pitch," he wrote in his column for BBC Football.

"He is one of the big names in Russia who has made a strong start to this World Cup, in terms of goals, with four so far.

"Yes, he is playing well, but if you really look at what he has done, he has scored one penalty, one free kick, one goal from a corner and one with a shot that David De Gea should have saved.

"You cannot say that he and Portugal have shown great combinations or tiki-taka football to score great goals.

"You have to give him credit, of course, but his goals have come from set-pieces, penalties or mistakes."

Meanwhile, the Spain international went onto defend his former FC Barcelona teammate, whom he believes is struggling with a sub-standard squad of players under Jorge Sampaoli.

"It was a similar story for Messi against Croatia, but it was not all his fault," Fabregas said referring to their Icelandic draw. "As I said in my TV analysis after Argentina's defeat, they look like a broken team.

"So it is has been really difficult for him. He does not have the quality in behind him when he needs someone who can help him build up the play."