Louis Saha has accused Chelsea legend Frank Leboeuf of "disrespecting" his former Manchester United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo.

Saha, who bagged 42 goals in 124 appearances for the Red Devils between 2004 and 2008, has taken umbrage with comments Leboeuf made about Ronaldo in March. Leboeuf claimed that Portugal 'can't win' the European Championships with Ronaldo - despite a career filled with accolades, trophies, big game wins and goals.

The Portuguese star, who is now 39, has been included in Portugal's squad for the tournament by Roberto Martinez. If he gets on the pitch in Germany, it will represent his sixth appearance at the Euros. But Leboeuf thinks presence will be a hinderance rather than a help to Portugal.

Speaking to BetVictor in March, Leboeuf said: "For me, Portugal are actually one of the contenders for this summer’s European Championships. I actually think they can win the Euros, but only if Cristiano Ronaldo doesn’t play.

"You cannot take away anything that Ronaldo has done for football just because he has gone to retire in the Saudi League. I want to thank him for taking the sport to another level, but there is an end for everyone."

However, Saha disagrees with Leboeuf and has accused the former Chelsea star of disrespecting Ronaldo. In an interview with OLGB, Saha said: "I heard Frank Leboeuf say that Portugal can't win with Cristiano Ronaldo. I think it's disrespectful.

Louis Saha has defended his former Manchester United team-mate (
Image:
Press Association)

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"Yes you can have your say and say and yes it’s possible that Portugal are not going to win with or without him, but saying he can’t win the competition at all is very harsh.

"If you can mention his attitude and understand that he’s got a lot of personality and won’t be happy if he’s on the bench, I understand that, but he’s disrespecting the talent of Ronaldo and his capacity of helping his team-mates improve. That’s just not fair."

Saha also dubbed Ronaldo the 'best in the box' in terms of scoring, praising his runs which make space for fellow team-mates and noting how Portugal 'need' him in their squad. He added: "In terms of scoring goals he’s the best in the box, the way he makes his runs attracts plenty of attention to make space for his team-mates too, sometimes the character can be difficult to manage which leads to debate but I think he is one of the guarantees Portugal need in their squad.

Frank Leboeuf doesn't believe Portugal can win the Euros with Ronaldo (
Image:
PA)

"It's a guarantee that he’s going to score goals. I am convinced the manager understands that and respects that. If Ronaldo thinks he’s going to have a pivotal role and play every minute then I think that’s wrong, he has to understand that he is sharing the responsibility and that’s his way forward in the national team.

"But I believe in him, not because I played with him but because I see what he is trying to do and see how he still celebrates every goal."

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Ronaldo is Portugal's leading goal scorer with 128 goals in 206 games - topping the likes of Pauleta, Eusebio, Rui Costa and Luis Figo. He has five Ballon d'Ors to his name and was pivotal in Portugal achieving their first every European trophy in 2016.

Portugal kick off the 2024 Euro tournament in Group F alongside Turkey, Czechia and Georgia.