Adrien Silva refused to be drawn on comparisons between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi but praised his Portugal team-mate's leadership on and off the field.
Ronaldo was at his very best in Portugal's 3-3 draw with Spain in their World Cup Group B opener, while Messi struggled and missed a penalty for Argentina in their stalemate with Iceland, leading to contrasting reports about their form in the media.
Silva told reporters that comparisons between arguably the two best players of all time were not valid, and heaped praise on Ronaldo's impact on the Portugal squad.
"You can't compare Messi with Ronaldo," said Silva. "We have a leader, he's with us and he must do what he must do. He has to help us as best as he can.
"Apart from everything else he sets a good example for all of us to follow. Not only during the game but with how he behaves and what sort of person he is."
Ronaldo has made 151 appearances for Portugal, scoring 84 goals, and he inspired the team to their first major trophy when they won the 2016 European Championship.
Despite Portugal's reliance on the 33-year-old as he enters the final stages of his career, Silva dismissed questions about what the team would do without him.
The Leicester City midfielder added: "It would be more difficult without him but he's on our side and we hope he continues to be with us, so why speculate on something like that?
"The result [against Spain] was positive. It wasn't the one that we expected though, but still we tried not to lose the game.
"That's what was most important for us.
"We did our best at every moment. Spain tried to change the course of the game but we resisted well so we feel good about it."
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