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..."

Cristiano Ronaldo was "close" to joining Manchester City in 2021 before ultimately deciding to return to Manchester United.

Ronaldo was leaving Juventus, with the Serie A club reportedly eager to get the Portugal international's wages off their books at the time, and had been surprisingly linked with a move to Pep Guardiola's Premier League champions.

Speaking to Piers Morgan on TalkTV, the 37-year-old detailed the U-turn that ended with him going back to Old Trafford 12 years after leaving for Real Madrid.

"Honestly, it was close," Ronaldo said when asked about the potential City move. "They spoke a lot and Guardiola said two weeks ago I guess that they tried hard to have me.

"But as you know, my history with Manchester United, your heart, your feeling, the history that you did before made the difference, and of course as well [a conversation] with Sir Alex Ferguson.

"I was surprised in some ways, but it was a conscious decision because the heart was speaking loud in that moment."

Despite his loud heart, Ronaldo was unable to return United back to former glories, though in no part down to a lack of effort as he scored 18 league goals, but the team finished in sixth place with their lowest points total in Premier League history.

Ronaldo did also share a smile when asked about the impact he made on his initial return, with Morgan asking him about his replica shirts outselling those of Lionel Messi after his move to Paris Saint-Germain.

"Of course [I was happy about that]," he said. "As you know, I don't follow the records, the records follow me.

"It was good, another one in my book... it was a good moment [to rejoin the club], nobody expected it, because things changed around in 72 hours. They spoke, not only Manchester City but other clubs too, about your name, changing Juventus for another club, but United wasn't there [at the time].

"It surprised everybody, even me to be honest."

Ronaldo has been scathing of United in the interview, which had been previewed in recent days, including declaring he has "no respect" for manager Erik ten Hag and had "never heard of" his predecessor Ralf Rangnick, while claiming no progress had been made by the club since Alex Ferguson's departure in 2013.

The club released a statement saying they would not provide further comment until the interview was released in full.

Raphael Varane says Manchester United's players have "obviously" been impacted by news of Cristiano Ronaldo's explosive interview.

Speaking to Piers Morgan Uncensored, Ronaldo remarked he felt "betrayed" by senior figures at United and declared he did not respect manager Erik ten Hag, casting serious doubt over his future at Old Trafford.

Clips of the bombshell interview dropped on Sunday following United's 2-1 Premier League victory over Fulham, which Ronaldo missed after informing the club he was unwell.

That was the Red Devils' final match before the World Cup break, though Varane says his team-mates have still been impacted by events concerning Ronaldo.

"Obviously it affects us," Varane told Europe1. "We follow what is happening and what is being said.

"We try to calm the situation in our own way and we try not to get too involved in it. What is happening in the media - in the big clubs things [like this] gain momentum.

"When it's a star like Ronaldo, even more, so we try to take it with distance, that is to say that we do not try to change the situation alone because we are part of a collective."

United released a statement on Monday explaining they would only assess what action to take "after the full facts are established", but with the full interview due to be released on Wednesday, that decision is expected soon.

Varane, who also played with Ronaldo at Real Madrid, declared he would accept whatever decision the club made, adding: "What I want is the best for my team.

"So whatever the decision, as players, we'll accept it and give the best of ourselves."

Manchester United are reportedly setting their sights as high as possible for their Cristiano Ronaldo replacement, planning a massive bid for Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe.

According to The Mirror, the 37-year-old Ronaldo has played his last game for the Red Devils after burning bridges with his explosive interview during the week.

Meanwhile, Mbappe is considered arguably the most valuable player in world football, racking up 169 goals in 193 games across his past five seasons with the French giants.

While there has been no indication the 23-year-old would consider United as a potential landing spot for the next stage of his career, the report claims he is their number one target.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED PLAN SHOCK BID FOR PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN'S MBAPPE

The Mirror claims that if United can get Ronaldo's contract off their books, they will be one of the only clubs in Europe who can afford the eye-watering contract demands of France's top star.

Sure to demand a fee north of £150million, and a contract exceeding £500,000 per week, it is a financial proposition that has caused even heavyweights such as Liverpool to declare him too expensive.

The report also states United will push forward their plans to invest at striker to January, further harming their chances of securing Mbappe as Paris Saint-Germain seek their first Champions League title.

However, it also mentions 23-year-old Napoli striker Victor Osimhen as their back-up plan, as the Nigeria international is expected to be available in the range of £60m.

 

ROUND-UP

- Football Italia is reporting Bayern Munich right-back Benjamin Pavard would be open to joining Milan, despite the 26-year-old being heavily linked with Manchester United.

- According to 90min, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United are all showing interest in 27-year-old Inter centre-back Milan Skriniar, who is yet to renew his contract beyond this season.

- Leicester City, Everton and Brighton and Hove Albion have Lens goalkeeper Brice Samba on their radars, per 90min.

- According to Sport, Manchester City are monitoring 33-year-old Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos with the hope that he does not renew his contract.

- Calciomercato is reporting Tottenham target Weston McKennie could leave Juventus in January.

Manchester United are reportedly setting their sights as high as possible for their Cristiano Ronaldo replacement, planning a massive bid for Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe.

According to The Mirror, the 37-year-old Ronaldo has played his last game for the Red Devils after burning bridges with his explosive interview during the week.

Meanwhile, Mbappe is considered arguably the most valuable player in world football, racking up 169 goals in 193 games across his past five seasons with the French giants.

While there has been no indication the 23-year-old would consider United as a potential landing spot for the next stage of his career, the report claims he is their number one target.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED PLAN SHOCK BID FOR PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN'S MBAPPE

The Mirror claims that if United can get Ronaldo's contract off their books, they will be one of the only clubs in Europe who can afford the eye-watering contract demands of France's top star.

Sure to demand a fee north of £150million, and a contract exceeding £500,000 per week, it is a financial proposition that has caused even heavyweights such as Liverpool to declare him too expensive.

The report also states United will push forward their plans to invest at striker to January, further harming their chances of securing Mbappe as Paris Saint-Germain seek their first Champions League title.

However, it also mentions 23-year-old Napoli striker Victor Osimhen as their back-up plan, as the Nigeria international is expected to be available in the range of £60m.

 

ROUND-UP

- Football Italia is reporting Bayern Munich right-back Benjamin Pavard would be open to joining Milan, despite the 26-year-old being heavily linked with Manchester United.

- According to 90min, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United are all showing interest in 27-year-old Inter centre-back Milan Skriniar, who is yet to renew his contract beyond this season.

- Leicester City, Everton and Brighton and Hove Albion have Lens goalkeeper Brice Samba on their radars, per 90min.

- According to Sport, Manchester City are monitoring 33-year-old Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos with the hope that he does not renew his contract.

- Calciomercato is reporting Tottenham target Weston McKennie could leave Juventus in January.

Cristiano Ronaldo says the death of his baby son was "the most difficult moment I had in my life."

As part of a wide-ranging interview with Piers Morgan for TalkTV, which will be released in full on Wednesday, Ronaldo has hit out at Manchester United and criticised his manager Erik ten Hag, among others.

In a further snippet of the interview released on Tuesday, Ronaldo spoke of the tragic moment in April when he and his partner Georgina Rodriguez lost their son during childbirth.

"It was probably the worst moment that I passed through in my life since my father died," Ronaldo said.

"When you have a kid you expect that everything will be normal, and you have that problem, it's hard. As a human being, me and Georgina had quite difficult moments because we didn't understand why it happened to us.

"It was difficult, to be honest, it was very difficult to understand what is going on in that period of our life.

"As you know, the football carries on, it's so fast, there are so many competitions... and passing through that is probably the most difficult moment that I had in my life, for me and my family, especially Geo. That was tough."

Rodriguez gave birth to a baby girl, who is about to turn seven months old, and Portugal captain Ronaldo – who is currently preparing for the World Cup in Qatar – says he did not know how to react at the time.

"I tried to explain to my family and close friends: 'I never felt to be so happy and sad in the same moment'," he added. "It's hard to explain, so difficult. You don't know if you [should] cry or smile, because it's something [where] you don't know how to react.

"You don't know what to do, to be honest."

Cristiano Ronaldo's scathing criticism of Manchester United will not have an impact on Portugal's quest for World Cup glory in Qatar, insists midfielder Joao Mario.

Ronaldo has endured a torrid season after reportedly expressing his desire to leave Old Trafford in the transfer window, making just four Premier League starts and only scoring once in the competition.

Having been temporarily exiled from first-team activities by Erik ten Hag after refusing to come on as a substitute against Tottenham last month, Ronaldo's United future is again in doubt following his decision to grant an explosive interview to Piers Morgan.

In early excerpts published from the interview, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner claimed to have been "betrayed" by United and said he has no respect for Ten Hag.

Ronaldo is set to begin his fifth and likely final World Cup campaign this month, and international team-mate Joao Mario does not believe Portugal will suffer for the 37-year-old's actions.

"I don't see a problem with the timing, so it's fine for us," Joao Mario said at a press conference on Tuesday. 

"I don't think it puts further pressure on him or on us. We're used to dealing with great pressure.

"It's not the first time that a player comes to the national team having a problem with his club. One of the advantages is that we put everything to the side when we are here. 

"When we get to the national team, it's another working group and we try to focus on what's most important.

"The headlines are always about him. Honestly, every time we come to the national team, the first questions asked are always about Ronaldo. The focus is always on him, and we are used to that.

"He is always happy when he is with national team. I saw him yesterday and he is fine, as always when he arrives here. 

"He is totally focused on the national team and he is going to be a big help for us at the World Cup."

Portugal will begin their Group H campaign against Ghana on November 24 after taking on Nigeria in a pre-tournament friendly on Thursday.

Having scored at the 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018 World Cups, Ronaldo could become the first player to score in five different editions of the tournament when he takes to the field in Qatar.

However, all seven of his World Cup goals to date have come in the group stage – no player has scored more goals at the tournament without finding the net in a knockout game.

Cristiano Ronaldo endured a frosty reception from Manchester United team-mate Bruno Fernandes as they reunited for Portugal's World Cup preparations.

The superstar forward, 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. 

In excerpts published ahead of the full discussion, Ronaldo took aim at boss Erik ten Hag, United's ownership under the Glazer family, and several other members of their hierarchy.

His comments have been widely criticised since, though with United now not in domestic action until after Qatar 2022, Ronaldo's interaction with club-mates was always going to be minimised.

That is not the case with fellow Portugal international Fernandes, however, who appeared to snub Ronaldo upon meeting him as part of Fernando Santos' squad earlier this week.

In a video published by the team's official social media channels, the midfielder seems to ignore his team-mate's outstretched hand on arrival into the dressing room, only to turn back and shake before walking away.

Portugal will hope any disharmony between the two can quickly be put to one side with the duo key figures in their hopes of success.

They begin their World Cup campaign against Ghana on November 24 in Group H, before further fixtures against Uruguay and South Korea.

Some of the Premier League's top clubs are reportedly keeping a close eye on Borussia Monchengladbach striker Marcus Thuram – including Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham.

Thuram, 25, is a towering presence up front, standing at six-foot-four and, after arriving at Gladbach from Ligue 1's Guingamp in 2019 for a fee of €12million, he has continued to grow as a goalscorer.

Through just 15 Bundesliga games this season, Thuram has matched his career-high tally of 10 league goals, including strikes against both Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

His recent run of form has seen him earn a late inclusion into France's World Cup squad as they look to defend their title, and although he may not receive a start, he was worked his way onto the radar of some of the world's elite clubs.

 

TOP STORY – 25-YEAR-OLD FRANCE INTERNATIONAL LIKELY AVAILABLE ON FREE TRANSFER

Thuram has spent four seasons with Gladbach, and this is looking like his last as he is yet to renew his contract ahead of its expiry date at the end of this campaign.

With a transfer value likely north of €40m, the ability to land a powerful striker entering his prime as a free agent is a deal too good to pass up for forward-hungry Premier League sides.

90min is reporting Tottenham sent scouts over to Germany recently to watch him play, while Liverpool and Arsenal are also mentioned as interested parties.

 

ROUND-UP

– According to Express, Cristiano Ronaldo could move to Chelsea after the departure of Thomas Tuchel, who was said to be the one blocking the idea.

– Express is also reporting Liverpool, Barcelona and Manchester City have identified 19-year-old Las Palmas midfielder Alberto Moleiro as a target. 

– Sky Sports Germany is reporting 22-year-old Salzburg striker Noah Okafor is available for a January transfer, with City, Liverpool and Milan named as suitors for the €40m-rated Switzerland international.

Chelsea are confident they have done enough to secure 25-year-old RB Leipzig striker Christopher Nkunku in the January window, per 90min.

– According to Relevo, Barcelona are willing to let Memphis Depay leave on a free transfer in January.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.