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Granit Xhaka braced for Cristiano Ronaldo battle as Switzerland tackle Portugal

And the midfielder aims to prove it in tonight’s inaugural Nations League semi-final by inspiriing outsiders Switzerland to a shock win against hosts Portugal.

Xhaka was one of the Gunners’ better performers – and the only player to front up afterwards – as they crashed to a 4-1 defeat following a second half collapse in Baku.

“It over and part of the past,” he said. “There’s nothing we can do about it now.

“So we look forward and the aim is to win this title here.”

After Arsenal were given the runaround by Eden Hazard seven days ago, Xhaka comes up against another global superstar in Cristiano Ronaldo, who plays his first Nations League game for the Portuguese.

“We saw Hazard’s qualities last week and throughout the season,” he added. “He is one of the best players in the world.

“And now we come up against another who has similar qualities.

“We know all about Ronaldo but Portugal are not a one-man team.”

“We know all about Ronaldo but Portugal are not a one-man team”

Granit Xhaka

Whatever happens tonight, Xhaka insists Switzerland won’t freeze like they did on their last visit to Portugal in a World Cup qualifier 18 months ago when they lost 2-0 in Lisbon

He said: “We beat them at home but here we were scared and not daring enough.

“So this time we will focus on our own strengths. All of us are convinced we can win.”

Liverpool’s Xherdan Shaqiri is set to start for the Swiss tonight having been a non-playing sub in Madrid on Saturday night.

Swiss coach Vladimir Petkovic says his lack of game-time in recent weeks is not a concern.

“I am not worried at all,” he said. “Like the rest of my squad, Shaqiri is fit and fresh.

“In football, it is often about an individual’s mental strengths and he is very strong mentally.”

Switzerland: 4-3-2-1: Sommer, Mbabu, Elvedi, Akanji, Rodriguez, Zakaria, Xhaka, Freuler, Shaqiri, Zuber, Seferovic.

Original article: https://www.dailystar.co.uk/sport/football/783431/Cristiano-Ronaldo-Granit-Xhaka-Portugal-Switzerland-Nations-League

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