Santos: Ronaldo saving his goals for Euro 2016

Getty Images

MATCH REPORT: Portugal v Bulgaria

Portugal boss Fernando Santos has defended Cristiano Ronaldo after the star missed a penalty in Saturday's (AEDT) 1-0 friendly defeat to Bulgaria.

The Real Madrid forward, who has twice missed from the spot for his club this season, saw his second-half effort saved by Vladislav Stoyanov as the visitors held on for a surprise win.

Portugal was unable to make its dominance of the match count against the inspired Stoyanov, but Santos says he has no concerns that Ronaldo's form will desert him at Euro 2016.

"In the national team, and the clubs where he's been, Cristiano has always been a reference — always worth 40, 50 goals per season," Santos said. "He didn't score [against Bulgaria] but he's reserving his goals for the Euros.

"We created many chances but we couldn't score. If we didn't create then, yes, I would be apprehensive."

Bulgaria boss Ivaylo Petev was thrilled with his side's victory, which came courtesy of a 19th-minute goal from 31-year-old debutant Marcelinho, but he is backing Portugal as a potential winner in France this year despite its travails in attack.

"It was an extremely prestigious game for us against a quality opponent," he said. "We tried to take every opportunity to reverse the Portugal attack using our counterattacks. However, Portugal had opportunities and we owe this victory to our goalkeeper."

He added: "I hope that Portugal get as far as possible in the Euros. They are capable of being champions."