Portugal boss Fernando Santos has confirmed that Cristiano Ronaldo won’t play in their friendly against Nigeria due to gastroenteritis.
- Ronaldo to miss Nigeria friendly
- Forward suffering from gastroenteritis
- Interview with Piers Morgan does not impact Portugal
WHAT HAPPENED? The Portuguese skipper will sit out the preparatory contest against Nigeria before the World Cup, with Santos confirming that he has been suffering with a stomach bug. The national team coach has also rejected the suggestion that he feels “forced” to include Ronaldo in his plans, insisting that recent form is the only yardstick for selection.
WHAT THEY SAID: “He will not be ready for tomorrow. He’s losing a lot of liquid, he’s suffering from gastroenteritis and he isn’t training. He’s in his room resting and recovering, I’m 100 percent sure he won’t be available [vs Nigeria],” Santos told a press conference.
Clarifying if he has ever been forced to pick Ronaldo, he added: “Forced? This is not about forcing me. This is not a requirement. No one is forced to do anything here. The question could be, you could ask me, based on what Cristiano Ronaldo did [in recent weeks on the pitch] should he start? This is valid for Cristiano Ronaldo and all the players who are in the national team. If the head coach is forced to put a player in the XI…there aren’t those things here.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Ronaldo has been in the eye of a storm after his explosive interview with Piers Morgan, in which he hit out at Manchester United’s board and manager Erik ten Hag. However, Santos is adamant that the episode does not concern the Portuguese squad ahead of the World Cup. “The man, the player, decided to give an interview, like other athletes and men decide to do to discuss personal matters,” he said. ”This doesn’t spill out to the national team, as far as I know, he didn’t talk about the national team, so it’s a personal interview which we need to respect. Ronaldo is a free man. The buzz and discussion [around him] are taking place outside the national team. It doesn’t impact us.”
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WHAT NEXT FOR RONALDO? The forward will hope to get fit before Portugal’s World Cup opener against Ghana on November 24.