Acerbi prefers to mark Ronaldo over Lukaku

Italy defender Francesco Acerbi hinted he would prefer Portugal in the quarter-finals, as it’s ‘more difficult to mark’ Romelu Lukaku than Cristiano Ronaldo.

In the mixed zone after the win over Austria on Saturday, the Azzurri centre-back didn’t comment when asked who he would like to play in the quarter-finals at Euro 2020.

Italy will face the winner between Belgium and Portugal tonight and Acerbi was asked who he believes is the ‘most difficult’ to mark between Lukaku and Ronaldo.

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“Maybe Lukaku,” he said. “Because he’s a complete player, as well as Cristiano Ronaldo, who always scores.

“As a centre-forward, Lukaku is more difficult to mark because he has more physique, he has power and is a bit more of a striker.

Cristiano Ronaldo is the classic forward, but he is more markable than Lukaku.”

Acerbi admitted Italy weren’t at their best against Austria, but felt the Azzurri were ‘efficient’ in London.

“We were bad, but also efficient,” he said. “Austria closed down and maybe we were a bit tense. Maybe we had to dribble a little more at certain times in the match, but this is a game that is won in a dirty way.

“When you play an inside-out game, there’s a bit of fear. You are aware of your strengths but also aware of the strengths of the opponent, because Austria have great players. They are strong, physical and capable of putting you in difficulty.

“We knew it would that from the second phase it would be difficult, especially mentally.

“Now every game is important. Being a bit tense is normal. Now, we’ll meet either Belgium or Portugal, then if we win it’s France, they are strong teams, which perhaps will make you play better. But they have much more quality.”