With Cristiano Ronaldo as a starter this summer or not, Roberto Martinez's Portugal has the quality to conquer Europe again.

The issue around whether veteran striker Ronaldo helps or hinders the team still dominates debate over the Euro 2016 winners' chances of glory in Germany.

The 39-year-old, playing for Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia, made his tournament debut back at Euro 2004 and is poised to play in his 11th major international competition.

Ronaldo has featured at five Euros, scoring in each of them, and is the all-time top goalscorer at the tournament, with 14 strikes.

While his finishing ability is undeniable, Ronaldo is significantly less mobile than he used to be and Portugal have played some of their best football in recent years in the odd matches he has missed.

After struggling through the group at the 2022 World Cup, Ronaldo was benched in the last 16 and Portugal hammered Switzerland 6-1 with their best performance at the tournament.

Ronaldo was suspended in Euro 2024 qualifying against Luxembourg and Portugal romped to a record 9-0 victory, with Paris Saint-Germain forward Goncalo Ramos shining in his stead.

"As for Cristiano Ronaldo, I think it's better to talk about statistics," said coach Martinez after announcing his Euro 2024 squad.

"A player who scores (so much) for his club shows continuity, a physical ability to always be fit and quality in front of goal that we really like and need.

"We don't make choices based on where the players play. We want to create the best team and call the 26 players who make up the best team."

Thus far Martinez has kept faith in Ronaldo, starting him at virtually every opportunity. There are dissenting voices.

"I actually think they can win the Euros, but only if Cristiano Ronaldo doesn't play," said French Euro 2000 winner Frank Leboeuf.

Martinez has much to prove after failing to lead Belgium's golden generation, including Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romeu Lukaku, to silverware during six years at the helm.

However, the Spaniard has started brilliantly with Portugal after being appointed in January 2023.

Martinez's side achieved a 100 percent record in qualifying, and have 11 wins from 12 matches under the coach, losing just once in a friendly against Slovenia.

We need to grow

The core of Portugal's side is similar to his predecessor Fernando Santos's reign but the players are given more licence to attack.

Beyond Ronaldo, Portugal boast a wealth of attacking talent, led by creative midfielders Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva of Manchester United and Manchester City respectively.

Liverpool's Diogo Jota, AC Milan's Rafael Leao and PSG striker Ramos are other high-calibre attacking options for Martinez.

Sporting Lisbon's young centre-back Goncalo Inacio is a player to watch, a threat in attack and strong on the ball.

Martinez's squad is as strong as Portugal have ever had, with quality players including Matheus Nunes, Francisco Trincao and Ricardo Horta left out.

Portugal face the Czech Republic (June 18), Turkey (June 22) and Georgia (June 26) in Group F, which they are firm favourites to win.

Martinez is targeting these matches to help propel the team on to a new level for the knock-out phase.

"To be successful at the Euros we need to grow over the first three matches," said Martinez in January.

"In the past, teams like Spain, England, France, Belgium, Italy and Germany have got closer to winning trophies by growing throughout the tournament."