Christian Eriksen says Denmark captain Simon Kjaer will defy FIFA and wear a OneLove armband at the World Cup regardless of the consequences.

Captains of 10 European sides are expected to wear a distinctive heart-adorned armband in Qatar, promoting diversity and inclusion in a country where same-sex relationships are prohibited.

On Saturday, FIFA announced its own armbands will feature a different social campaign, including 'Save the Planet' and 'Bring the Moves', throughout each round of the tournament in the Middle East.

Eriksen confirmed Denmark will stick with the OneLove initiative as Kasper Hjulmand's side prepare for Tuesday's Group D opener against Tunisia.

"I think we as a country are wearing it, our captain will be wearing the OneLove armband and then what the consequences will be, I don't know but we'll see," said midfielder Eriksen.

"And apart from that, we are here as footballers and we are going to play football. Of course, we want to help what we can, but in the end I'm on this stage because I play football.

"That's really my focus, and it's our focus at this tournament."

Manchester United player Eriksen will appear on FIFA's global stage less than 18 months after suffering a cardiac arrest in Denmark's European Championship clash with Finland.

"I'm just happy to be back. Especially to be at the World Cup. I've been lucky to play in one or two before, but it's special," Eriksen said.

"It's a big tournament, it's very difficult to qualify. We are dreaming of something big, but in the end, we have to get there.

"In football terms, we'll take one game at a time, and we will see where we end up."

Hjulmand's side will aim to escape Group D, which also includes world champions France and Australia, though Eriksen acknowledged it will be a difficult challenge.

"We know it's a tough group. Some teams we played a lot and some teams like Tunisia, we haven't played before," he said.

"It's a World Cup, so it's fun to test ourselves against teams we haven't played before."

Denmark have beaten France twice already this year in the Nations League, and Eriksen said he did not know whether that would influence the upcoming encounter.

"Normally, France in a tournament is a different team compared to the rest of the year," he said. "We know what to do, and we look forward to it."

Cristiano Ronaldo's scathing interview on Manchester United, in which he criticised the club, senior figures and manager Erik ten Hag, remains a significant talking point in the build-up to the World Cup.

Portugal captain Ronaldo said he felt "betrayed" by United, claiming the Red Devils have made "zero progress" since Alex Ferguson departed as manager in 2013, though Eriksen showed little interest in his club-mate's comments.

He said: "No, it hasn't been any distraction for our focus on the World Cup or a personal focus. And no, I haven't spoken to him since at the club."

Bernardo Silva remains uninterested by Cristiano Ronaldo's scathing interview on Manchester United as Portugal aim to focus on the World Cup.

Portugal captain Ronaldo caused a stir this week in a wide-ranging interview with Piers Morgan on TalkTV, criticising United, senior figures at the club and current manager Erik ten Hag.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner said he felt "betrayed" by United, who he claims have made "zero progress" since Alex Ferguson departed Old Trafford in 2013.

Portugal showed no signs of distraction with a 4-0 friendly victory over Nigeria in their sole World Cup warm-up game on Thursday, and Silva says he has no interest in the ongoings with Ronaldo at United.

"The news coming from England has nothing to do with Portugal," the Manchester City midfielder said on Saturday. 

"It concerns him, I don't have to comment, it has nothing to do with me. It's not about the Selecao but about Cristiano.

"It's still for Cristiano. I am not a Manchester United player. If I were, I wouldn't answer you. It's a rival club. I have nothing to do with it.

"We are with Portugal, focused on our matches, we are not focused on Cristiano's situation with his club. So I'll answer questions about the World Cup and our team."

Ronaldo missed the Nigeria triumph through "illness", with United team-mate Bruno Fernandes scoring twice before late goals for Goncalo Ramos and Joao Mario.

Silva acknowledged Portugal are somewhat reliant on the firepower of Ronaldo, but insisted Fernando Santos' side have the quality to compete without the 37-year-old.

He added: "Almost all our players play for big clubs in the best leagues. This is a team that relies on Cristiano, he's part of it of course, but when he's not here we know how to respond on the pitch as we have done lately.

"Not only in this game [against Nigeria], but also in the Nations League, in some of the qualifiers, where we responded well [to his absence]. That's what counts.

"There are 26 of us. When one is not here, another one replaces him. We will give our best to represent our country."

Fernandes appeared to give Ronaldo a frosty reception on arrival for Portugal duty before assuring there were no problems between the pair ahead of Thursday's World Cup opener against Ghana.

Silva reiterated Fernandes' viewpoint as he suggested the interview has not altered the harmony within the Portugal camp.

"I don't see any strange atmosphere between Cristiano or anyone else," he continued.

"Again, it's a matter for him and his club. I have nothing to do with it, I don't even play in it. It's a question he has to solve on his own. 

"I see him motivated for our team as we all are. One more to help our selection and help our team to achieve its goals. I don't see what the problem is. It's an individual matter that we have already talked about.

"We only talked about this in the last press conference, while Portugal has a World Cup to play that is more important.

"I understand your questions and your persistence in trying to pull out whatever it is because there is nothing."

Liverpool are reportedly the favourites to land prized Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham after rumours that Real Madrid are not willing to meet the €150million asking price.

Bellingham, 19, has emerged as one of the top prospects in world football, scoring in four consecutive games to begin his side's Champions League campaign this season, including one against Manchester City.

Already with 17 caps for England, Bellingham is expected to play a major role at the World Cup and a virtuoso performance could sway some of the world's biggest clubs into bidding what would be a world-record fee for an Englishman.

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID SCOFF AT BELLINGHAM ASKING PRICE, LEAVING DOOR AJAR FOR LIVERPOOL

According to a report from Sport, Bellingham is Real Madrid's priority signing at the end of the season, but they have no intention of meeting Dortmund's initial valuation.

Madrid are said to be Bellingham's preference as well, and the club will try to negotiate the final price down to what they deem a more acceptable figure.

Liverpool have no qualms with what would be a club-record signing, and previous reports claim Manchester United also feel they are in with a chance once they get Cristiano Ronaldo's contract off their books.

ROUND-UP

- According to Mundo Deportivo, Paris Saint-Germain have been in communication with Milan's Rafael Leao, although they have not been able to agree on personal terms yet.

- Calciomercato is reporting Leicester City have joined Wolfsburg and Bayer Leverkusen in the chase for 28-year-old Inter left-back Robin Gosens.

- MLS teams may be able to afford Cristiano Ronaldo after the league agreed to a $250m television rights deal with Apple TV, per iNews.

- Mundo Deportivo is reporting Atletico Madrid have strong interest in Braga forward Abel Ruiz, and wish to bring him to the club in a loan deal in January that includes a compulsory buy-clause.

- According to El Observador, 20-year-old Uruguayan talent Facundo Pellistri could leave Manchester United in January in search of first-team football.

Cristiano Ronaldo's criticism of young players is understandable, according to his Manchester United team-mate Anthony Elanga, who has defended the forward following his comments.

Ronaldo has endured a torrid season after reportedly asking to leave United in the last transfer window, and his future is in doubt once again following an explosive interview with Piers Morgan.

As well as claiming senior figures at Old Trafford have "betrayed" him and admitting he has no respect for head coach Erik ten Hag, Ronaldo said the club's young players "don't care".

Asked about Ronaldo's comments by Swedish publication Aftonbladet, Elanga said: "Cristiano talks about young players in general.

"We are a new generation. I am always 100 per cent focused on what I am doing, but I can understand what he is saying.

"There are a lot of phones and a lot of technology. It's quite easy for young players to get distracted and lose focus. Young players at United are listening, but I can understand what he is saying."

Elanga also maintains that Ronaldo has been a positive influence on his development since the five-time Ballon d'Or winner returned to United last August.

"He has helped me a lot not only on the pitch, but off it as well," Elanga said. "He is an inspiration, not only to me but to all the young players at United. Sometimes it's just me and him at the gym.

"When I'm with him, he hasn't changed. He is still Cristiano Ronaldo to me. He has helped me a lot."

Manchester United have "initiated appropriate steps" after Cristiano Ronaldo's explosive television interview cast doubt on his future at Old Trafford.

The Premier League club issued an update on Friday to confirm steps are under way, but they did not specify what action they were taking.

Ronaldo, 37, roundly criticised the club when he spoke to broadcaster Piers Morgan.

The Portugal star took aim at manager Erik ten Hag, United's ownership under the Glazer family, and several other members of the club's hierarchy.

United's statement read: "Manchester United has this morning initiated appropriate steps in response to Cristiano Ronaldo’s recent media interview.

"We will not be making further comment until this process reaches its conclusion."

There has been speculation United could terminate the contract of the five-time Ballon d'Or winner, who returned for a second spell with the Red Devils in August of last year.

Ronaldo's former United team-mate Gary Neville has urged the club to get rid of the former Real Madrid and Juventus forward, who is away with Portugal and preparing for the World Cup. Portugal were leaving Lisbon on Friday for their Qatar mission.

"l don't think he wants a way back," Neville told Sky Sports. "He wouldn't have done this interview if he wanted a way back. He knew it would bring the headlines it has and be the end of his Manchester United career.

"I'm wondering what Man Utd are doing because the reality of it is they know they have to terminate Cristiano's contract or they basically open up a precedent so any player can criticise them in the future."

Ronaldo top-scored for United with 24 goals in all competitions last term, but he reportedly asked to leave the club following their failure to qualify for the Champions League.

He has fallen out of favour since Ten Hag took charge ahead of this campaign, regularly featuring as a substitute in the Premier League, and refusing to come off the bench in a game against Tottenham in October.

Ronaldo said in the TalkTV interview: "I feel betrayed. I felt that some people didn't want me here not only this year, but last year too."

Bruno Fernandes says he has "no problem" with Cristiano Ronaldo following his Manchester United and Portugal team-mate's explosive interview.

Ronaldo told TalkTV he felt betrayed by United and spoke of how his relationship with manager Erik ten Hag has broken down, also criticising club owners the Glazer family.

Footage emerged of Fernandes seemingly giving Ronaldo a frosty reception when they reported for international duty ahead of the World Cup in Qatar this week.

United defender Raphael Varane stated that the Ronaldo saga had "obviously affected" the club.

Yet Fernandes says he has no issue with the forward as Portugal prepare to face Ghana in their first match of the tournament next Thursday.

The midfielder told Sky Sports: "I didn't read the interview so I'm okay with that. As I said before, now it's the national team, it's Portugal. The coach made a point that it's us, he made that point since I came with the national team in 2017.

"That is still clear, that in his mind the main thing here is the national team and us, so we have to be focused on the World Cup.

"You don't have a chance to play a World Cup many times – Cristiano did really well to play five times, this will be his fifth time – so everyone is ready for that, everyone wants to give their best for the team."

Fernandes added: "This is the national team, Manchester United will be my focus after the World Cup, after December 18, because that is the final.

"I have no problem with anyone. I do my job. You have to control yourself, give your best and that's it."

Cristiano Ronaldo dreams of facing the "magic" Lionel Messi in the World Cup final as two footballing greats head into the twilight of their careers.

The 37-year-old Ronaldo will hope to help Portugal escape Group H, where they face Ghana next Thursday before clashes against Uruguay and South Korea.

Messi, 35, heads to Qatar with one of the pre-tournament favourites, Argentina, who start Group C against Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, with meetings against Mexico and Poland to follow.

Having battled for centre stage against former Barcelona star Messi for numerous years, ex-Real Madrid forward Ronaldo admitted he would love to face his old foe in the World Cup showpiece on December 18.

"It's too good, too good of a dream," Ronaldo told Piers Morgan on TalkTV in his wide-ranging interview, in which he criticised Manchester United, senior figures at Old Trafford, Erik ten Hag and Ralf Rangnick.

The pair share 12 Ballon d'Or titles between them, with Messi's record-breaking seven two more than Ronaldo's haul, surmising a dominant period in elite football between the evergreen duo.

Messi now plays his club football with Paris Saint-Germain, while Ronaldo's time at United appears to be heading to an abrupt end amid the furore of his scathing interview on his current employers.

The Portugal international, despite the revered battles between the pair throughout their respective careers, assured he has a "great relationship" with Messi, who he would like to sit down for a meal with.

"He is an amazing player, he is magic. As a person, he is top. We shared the stage for 16 years, imagine," he added.

"I have a great relationship with him. I'm not a friend of him in terms of the guy who is at your house, speaking on the phone, no, but he is like a team-mate.

"He's a guy that I really respect the way he always speaks about me. Even his wife or my wife, my girlfriend, they always respect and they're both from Argentina. 

"What I am going to say about Messi? A great guy who does great things for football."

Blaugrana legend Messi has been linked with a move to Major League Soccer or a fairytale reunion with Barca, who he left amid well-documented financial difficulties at Camp Nou in August 2021.

The future of Ronaldo appears unlikely to remain with United, though he suggested he would like to call an end to his playing career aged 40.

"I want to play two years more, three years more. So two or three years maximum," he continued.

"I want to finish at 40. I think 40, will be a good age… But I don't know, I don't know the future.

"Sometimes you plan one thing for your life and as have said many times, life is dynamic. You never know what's going to happen."

Cristiano Ronaldo has admitted he would be happy to see Arsenal win the Premier League, if Manchester United cannot become champions.

The Portugal star has caught the headlines with an explosive interview aired this week, where he criticised his employers, current manager Erik ten Hag and his former team-mates Wayne Rooney and Gary Neville.

His comments have led to a growing expectation that a swift departure from Old Trafford is on the cards after the World Cup in Qatar when the January transfer window opens for business – and his admission on the Premier League title race will cause a further stir.

United have struggled for stability in the Premier League this season, while Arsenal have lost just once – at Old Trafford – as they look for a first top-flight crown since going unbeaten in the 2004-05 season.

If that were to happen, Ronaldo has conceded he would be happy with the outcome.

"I hope so. Manchester United first, if not, Arsenal. It's a team I like to see play," he told Piers Morgan's Uncensored on TalkTV.

"I like the team, I like the coach. I think they have a good team and if Manchester United don't win the Premier League, then I will be happy if Arsenal do."

Arsenal hold a five-point advantage over Manchester City after 14 rounds of Premier League action, with United 11 points adrift of the Gunners.

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."

Cristiano Ronaldo acknowledged a Manchester United future appears unlikely after his scathing interview, though he rubbished earlier reports of a move away as "garbage".

Five-time Ballon d'Or winner has caused a stir at Old Trafford after hitting out at the club's senior figures, current manager Erik ten Hag and former boss Ralf Rangnick.

In a wide-ranging interview with Piers Morgan on Talk TV, the Portugal international said he felt "betrayed" by United and claimed the club had made "zero progress" since Alex Ferguson left in 2013.

Amid a host of other complaints, Ronaldo suggested he may no longer be a United player after the World Cup break with Portugal, who open their Group H campaign against Ghana in Qatar next Thursday.

"It's hard, it's hard for me to say that I will not be back to Manchester United. But regardless, let's see what's going to happen," the 37-year-old said.

“It's difficult to tell right now, because my mood is right now to the World Cup. It's probably my last World Cup, of course, my fifth World Cup.

"I don't know what's going to happen after the World Cup, but as I told you before, and I will say again, the fans will be always in my heart.

"I hope that they never forget the things that I will continue to do it. Not only in the past, but in the present too. Manchester will be always in my side, the fans will be always on my side.

"It doesn't matter what's going to happen. When I arrived at Manchester United, I am always available to help the team to do good things, to put them in the right spots to compete with the best teams.

"But it's hard when they cut your legs and don't like you to shine and don't listen to your advice.

"I think I have words to advise the club because the trophies are one individual and collective. I think I can help a lot, but the infrastructure is not good."

Ongoing reports linked the unsettled Ronaldo with the likes of Chelsea, Juventus and Atletico Madrid among a plethora of Europe's elite clubs.

Former side Sporting CP were another name touted, alongside Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, though the ex-Real Madrid attacker refuted numerous reports.

"What they say the last three months is complete garbage and wrong," he added. "They say that they offer me this and that, and many presidents and directors speak about, they reject me.

"It's a complete lie, they lie. Because this is not what's happened. I have a few clubs that they want me to sign and I didn't go because I feel comfortable here.

"I was motivated to do a great season here. But they continue to repeat that nobody wants Cristiano. How don't they want a player who scored 32 goals last year, with the national team?"

While Ronaldo took aim at the speculation and his current employers United, the forward insisted he has no doubts over his capabilities.

He continued: "For me, it's a stupid question. What do people say? They are not the same. Nobody is the same, day-by-day we're getting old. Every one of us, it is normal. You have to adapt.

"And I think nobody in this game has this brain that adapts to his age. I'm not wanting to be cocky to say that I'm the same as when I was 20. Of course, no.

"I adapt and be smart to know my strength, what I'm good at. I'm still playing a high level and I score goals, and I will continue to score goals.

"If my mind is clear and happy. And if the people surround me, they're helping me to be a successful player, especially the coach, the president, the directors…

"But when you feel that the energy around you won't help, it's difficult for you to be yourself, which is what has happened with me."

Bruno Fernandes scored twice as Portugal eased to a 4-0 victory over Nigeria in their sole World Cup warm-up game, despite missing captain Cristiano Ronaldo through illness.

Fernando Santos' side produced a dominant showing in Lisbon on Thursday amid the ongoing furore over the absent Ronaldo's scathing interview on Manchester United.

Fernandes' first-half double, the latter from the penalty spot, set Portugal on their way in their final outing ahead of Qatar, before Goncalo Ramos scored after Emmanuel Dennis missed a second-half spot-kick.

Joao Mario added a late fourth and Portugal will now turn their attention to next Thursday's Group H opener against Ghana as they aim to reach the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time in four tournaments.

Fernandes miscued an effort just wide in the opening stages but made amends after nine minutes as he turned home Diogo Dalot's cutback pass.

Joao Felix curled narrowly over before Bright Osayi-Samuel was adjudged to have handled inside the area, with Fernandes sending Francis Uzoho the wrong way with his spot-kick.

A host of half-time changes did little to alter Portugal's dominance, though Samuel Chukwueze forced a rare Rui Patricio save before Uzoho tipped over from Joao Felix.

The VAR deemed Dalot to have shoved Osayi-Samuel inside the area, though Patricio saved Dennis' penalty before Ramos sealed victory by tapping in Raphael Guerreiro's unselfish pass.

A simple Joao Felix offload teed up the final goal as Joao Mario prodded into an empty net.

What does it mean? Santos' side in cruise control ahead of Qatar

The ongoing controversy surrounding five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo could have easily derailed Portugal, though that did not prove the case in a routine win.

Santos' side dominated from the first minute without their talisman and will be confident of escaping Group H, which also includes Uruguay and South Korea.

However, the likes of Ghana and Uruguay – the latter with the likes of Federico Valverde, Ronald Araujo and Darwin Nunez – will prove much sterner tasks than Nigeria in Qatar.

Fernandes refutes Ronaldo deputy tag

All the talk in the build-up to the friendly surrounded Fernandes' United team-mate Ronaldo, though it was the midfielder who shone at Estadio Jose Alvalade.

Fernandes has regularly played the backing role to Ronaldo at Old Trafford and Portugal, but offered a timely reminder of his qualities with two goals as well as misplacing just three of his 37 passes.

More from Miffi

While Portugal impressed without their star attacker, Nigeria were left wanting in their forward line as Terem Moffi failed to deliver.

The 23-year-old completed just six of his 11 passes and managed 15 touches – the fewest of any outfield starter – before his second-half removal.

What's next?

Portugal's curtain-raiser comes against Ghana in Doha, while Nigeria are not scheduled for action until facing Guinea-Bissau in Africa Cup of Nations qualification in March.

Cristiano Ronaldo's Manchester United contract should be terminated in the coming days, according to former Red Devils team-mate Gary Neville.

Portugal superstar Ronaldo, who has cut a frustrated figure at Old Trafford this term following an off-season spent reportedly seeking an exit, roundly criticised the club in an interview with broadcaster Piers Morgan this week.

The 37-year-old took aim at boss Erik ten Hag, United's ownership under the Glazer family, and several other members of their hierarchy.

He also lambasted Neville, who he played alongside for United between 2003 and 2009, suggesting his former team-mate was too critical of him in his role as a high-profile pundit.

United are yet to confirm if they will take action against Ronaldo, but Neville is in no doubt his deal at Old Trafford should be torn up.

"l don't think he wants a way back," Neville told Sky Sports. "He wouldn't have done this interview if he wanted a way back. He knew it would bring the headlines it has and be the end of his Manchester United career.

"I'm wondering what Man Utd are doing because the reality of it is they know they have to terminate Cristiano's contract or they basically open up a precedent so any player can criticise them in the future.

"I agree with some of the things Cristiano has said and many Man Utd fans will agree with many things Cristiano has said, but the reality is if you're an employee within a business and say those things your employment has to terminate and Man Utd have to do that in the next few days.

"Cristiano probably wants that as well but it didn't need to end like that. They could have come together a couple of weeks ago and navigated a pathway through what could have potentially been choppy seas to the shore but it's not happened, they've both basically backed themselves into a corner."

One of the most explosive moments in Ronaldo's interview was when he said he had "no respect" for United manager Ten Hag.

Neville, though, says the Dutchman has handled the situation expertly and believes the former Ajax boss has come out of the saga with his reputation enhanced.

"I think Erik ten Hag has handled a very difficult first six months at United perfectly," he added. "I don't think he could have done anything differently.

"Cristiano Ronaldo's a monster of a player, a monster of a character, with a massive reach. He's been in a bit of a difficult position because if he publicly takes him on, he's probably not going to win.

"Cristiano looks like someone who thinks the world's against him; it doesn't have to be like that. The club need to reach out to Cristiano and his advisers and navigate an end to this very quickly. It's becoming more unsavoury by the day and there's no need for it to be like that."

The A-League are exploring a shock move for Cristiano Ronaldo with his Manchester United career appearing to be almost certainly over.

The Portugal captain, who made a sensational return to United early last season, looks to have curtailed his second spell at Old Trafford after a fiery interview with Piers Morgan for TalkTV.

Ronaldo criticised Red Devils manager Erik ten Hag and owners the Glazer family, also claiming senior figures had attempted to push him out despite reports he sought an exit before this season started.

The 37-year-old's focus is now on the World Cup in Qatar amid uncertainty over his future.

Australian Professional Leagues CEO Danny Townsend on Thursday revealed he has contacted Ronaldo's representative Jorge Mendes in a bold attempt to bring him to Australia.

Nani is plying his trade at Melbourne Victory, but Townsend says he has not tried to get the winger to help him to lure his former United and Portugal team-mate to the A-League.

"We haven't been in Nani's ear, but we've certainly registered our interest in bringing [Ronaldo] to Australia," he told SportFM.

"It's obviously a long shot, but we certainly have a proposition here in Australia for him to consider. We're in dialogue and we'll see where that goes."

Ronaldo's grandparents live in Australia, which Townsend will no doubt hope might tempt him to move to the A-League.

Cristiano Ronaldo will not play in Portugal's World Cup warm-up game against Nigeria on Thursday because of illness, according to head coach Fernando Santos.

The Portugal boss also dismissed concerns about Ronaldo's explosive interview with Piers Morgan in which he criticised his club, Manchester United.

The player did not say anything derogatory about his national team, though he did receive a frosty reception from compatriot and United team-mate Bruno Fernandes when he arrived to prepare for the World Cup in Qatar, which begins on Sunday.

Speaking at a press conference, Santos said: "Ronaldo has gastritis and did not train today in order to recover and rest. It's a condition that doesn't help much as it affects the players a lot, they lose a lot of liquid, they weaken. He won't be ready for tomorrow, for sure."

Santos also denied that it was an excuse for Ronaldo to stay out of the limelight while the media continues to discuss his comments about the likes of United boss Erik ten Hag and the general state of the club he rejoined last year.

"[Ronaldo] didn't have to inform us about the interview," Santos added. "Isn't he free [to make his decisions]?

"What I'm interested in is what is being spoken about in our camp and not what is being said outside. We have to respect his decision.

"We have to respect the interview he gave. It has nothing to do with the national team."

Portugal begin their World Cup campaign against Ghana on November 24, before also taking on Uruguay and South Korea in Group H.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo's interview with Piers Morgan continues to generate controversy.

The Manchester United forward hit out at a host of different figures, from those in charge at the club to former team-mates with whom he enjoyed some of his finest moments.

His words may spell the end of his United career and have also seemingly cast a shadow over Portugal's preparations for their World Cup campaign, with Ronaldo receiving an apparently frosty reception from club and country team-mate Bruno Fernandes when joining up with his national team.

Ronaldo looks to have burnt several bridges with his comments, and here Stats Perform looks at the most explosive comments from an interview that will live long in the memory.

United doubted daughter's ill-health

One of the more specific claims Ronaldo made in the interview is that senior figures at United did not believe his reasoning for missing pre-season prior to the current campaign.

Ronaldo said he did not feature in pre-season because his daughter was in hospital, but alleged some at the club were sceptical of that explanation.

"I spoke with the director and the president of Man Utd and they kind of didn't believe that something was going wrong, which made me feel bad," the Portugal captain said.

When pressed to confirm senior United figures did not believe he was telling the truth, Ronaldo added: "They believe me but in the same way [shakes head]… And it is something that really hurt me because they doubted my word that I was struggling, especially Bella and Geo [Georgina Rodriguez, Ronaldo's girlfriend].

"We had one week in hospital because Bella had a big problem and I didn't go to the pre-season because of that. I didn't want to leave my family to do the pre-season because I didn't think it was fair to leave my family for a pre-season. This is why I didn't go."

Glazers don't care

The Glazer family are not popular with the fans at Old Trafford, and the club's ownership clearly also do not have a supporter in Ronaldo.

"The owners of the club, the Glazers, they don't care about the club. The sports, they don't really care in my opinion," he said. "I've never spoken to them. They give all the power to the sporting director.

"The fans are always right, they should know the truth. The players, we want the best for the club, I want the best for the club, this is why I came back to Manchester United, it is why I love the club. But you have some things inside the club which don't help you reach the top level like [Manchester] City, Liverpool, even now Arsenal, for example, which is difficult.

"It's hard. In my opinion, it will be hard for United to be at the top of the game in the next two or three years."

"I feel betrayed"

The narrative before the season was that Ronaldo was looking for a move away from Old Trafford.

Ronaldo, however, indicated the opposite is true. Asked whether he felt he was being forced out of Old Trafford, he said: "Yes, not only by the coach, but by another two or three guys around the club that I felt betrayed me.

"I shouldn't say that [they were trying to get rid of me], I don't know, but yes, I feel betrayed. I felt that some people didn't want me here, not only this year but last year too."

No respect for Ten Hag

Erik ten Hag insisted before the season that Ronaldo was not for sale, but has since started him in just four Premier League games.

Last month, Ten Hag said he opted against bringing Ronaldo on in a 6-3 defeat to rivals Manchester City "out of respect", while the Portugal forward was visibly irritated by the Dutchman's decision to substitute him against Newcastle United two weeks later.

Asked about his relationship with Ten Hag, Ronaldo added: "I don't have respect for him because he doesn't show respect for me. If you don't have respect for me, I'm never going to have respect for you."

They are not my friends

Ronaldo has been heavily criticised for his antics by former team-mates Wayne Rooney and Gary Neville, and he accused them of using his name to gain fame in their post playing careers.

"They are not my friends. I don't know if they have a job on television where they must criticise me to become more famous, I really don't understand," he added.

"I think they take advantage of that because they're not stupid. I have to carry on with my life with criticism or praise but it's hard when you see people who were in the dressing room with you, criticising you in that way. I'm not going to lose sleep because they criticise but it's not good to listen to that. It's a little bit disappointing."

Rooney criticism rooted in jealousy

There were further harsh words for Rooney, with Ronaldo suggesting his criticism is because he is jealous.

"I don't know why he criticises me so badly," said Ronaldo. "Probably because he finished his career and I'm still playing at a high level.

"I'm not going to say that I'm looking better than him – which is true..."

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