‘I didn’t even look’ - Newcastle United star avoids nasty injury in clash with Man United legend

Newcastle United goalkeeper Martin Dubravka is caught by Cristiano Ronaldo (Photo by VLADIMIR SIMICEK/AFP via Getty Images)Newcastle United goalkeeper Martin Dubravka is caught by Cristiano Ronaldo (Photo by VLADIMIR SIMICEK/AFP via Getty Images)
Newcastle United goalkeeper Martin Dubravka is caught by Cristiano Ronaldo (Photo by VLADIMIR SIMICEK/AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images
Newcastle United’s Martin Dubravka was on the receiving end of a late challenge by Cristiano Ronaldo.

Newcastle United goalkeeper Martin Dubravka avoided a potential gory injury in a clash with Manchester United legend Cristiano Ronaldo at the weekend.

Dubravka’s Slovakia faced Ronaldo’s Portugal in a Euro 2024 qualifier on Friday night and the five-time Ballon d’Or was perhaps lucky to remain on the pitch following a late challenge on his former Red Devils teammate.

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After scuffing his initial shot, Ronaldo attempted to slide the ball home at the second attempt but recklessly caught the Magpies No.2 in the upper chest region. VAR reviewed the decision but the 38-year-old only received a yellow card.

The current Al Nassr star will miss Portugal’s fixture against Luxembourg tonight after accumulating three yellow cards and Dubravka is pleased the punishment wasn’t more.

“I just closed my eyes and prayed that he [Ronaldo] wouldn’t hit me in the face as well,” said Dubravka. “When I saw his studs coming at me, I didn’t even look.

“These are situations when the goalkeeper closes his eyes and tries only to block the shot, and he, as a striker, has to go after such a ball. I don’t blame him. It’s sport, it’s football. Situations like this belong to it. Of course, he realised he hit me. He asked me if I was OK. I take it sportingly.

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“I try to keep a clear head in these situations. It is a contact sport. Today, when we have VAR at our disposal. There is no point in getting into it.”

After receiving treatment, Dubravka, 34, was able to continue as his nation fell to a narrow 1-0 loss. The former Sparta Prague man is expected to start against Liechtenstein this evening before returning to Tyneside for Saturday evening’s Premier League clash with Brentford (kick-off 5:30pm).

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