EPL

Ronaldo optimistic on Portugal's World Cup hopes, expects 'good tournament' in Qatar

By Sports Desk November 17, 2022

Cristiano Ronaldo remains optimistic about Portugal's chances at the World Cup in Qatar, who he thinks will host a "good tournament" despite ongoing human rights concerns.

Portugal captain Ronaldo missed Fernando Santos' side cruise past Nigeria 4-0 in their final warm-up game on Thursday before FIFA's global tournament.

Coach Santos cited illness issues for the 37-year-old amid the furore of his scathing interview on Manchester United with Piers Morgan on TalkTV.

While the former Real Madrid forward hit out at United, their staff and directors, Ronaldo suggested Portugal have a chance at the World Cup, where they face Ghana in their Group H opener next Thursday.

"I am very optimistic. We have a fantastic coach, we have a good generation of football players," the five-time Ballon d'Or winner said.

"I'm looking forward to it, we're going to an amazing World Cup… [It’s] going to be tough. Extremely difficult. But everything is possible, of course we're going to compete."

After labelling a host of pre-tournament favourites, such as Argentina, Spain and Brazil, Ronaldo said he would retire immediately if Portugal won the tournament.

The United forward believes England also have a "chance" in Qatar, who came under widespread scrutiny for their human rights treatment after being awarded hosting rights by FIFA.

Captains of 10 European sides will wear heart-adorned armbands, raising awareness for the OneLove campaign against discrimination in a country where same-sex relationships are prohibited.

FIFA has repeatedly called for nations to focus on football, much to the disappointment of many supporters and countries, though Ronaldo feels Qatar will prove a capable host.

"All the national teams, the people will be welcomed in Qatar, and I see a good tournament to be honest," he added.

"I think Qatar; they are prepared. They are prepared for that [the backlash].

"It will be weird to play at the beginning of the season. But in the same way, it is a challenge. I think it's good. I feel good and with good energy."

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