Portugal boss Fernando Santos has explained why missed a training session on Wednesday ahead of the in .
Santos, who led Portugal to glory at Euro 2016 and the 2019 Nations League, is looking to complete a hat-trick of international trophies when the World Cup gets started on November 20, with their first game against Ghana on November 24.
Portugal have never won the World Cup but with a star-studded team they can never be ruled out, although Santos will need Ronaldo to be in the best shape possible if his nation are to go all the way this time around.
Even at the age of 37, Ronaldo’s importance to the Portugal team cannot be understated, with the forward registering 117 goals across 191 caps.
But he has been embroiled in controversy in recent days since his bombshell interview with Piers Morgan, with Ronaldo hitting out at Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag, the club’s owners, former team-mates and even former managers.
Ronaldo has been desperate to leave United since the summer and is again keen to try and depart Old Trafford in January, with Bayern Munich and his former side Sporting Lisbon rumoured to be interested despite his eyebrow-raising interview.
But for now, all attentions turn towards the World Cup, and Ronaldo was absent from training on Wednesday with illness.
‘He will not be ready for tomorrow [a friendly against Nigeria],’ Santos said.
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‘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 per cent sure he won’t be available.’
Quizzed about Ronaldo’s interview with Morgan, Santos added: ‘This issue isn’t related to us, it isn’t related to the national team.
‘The man, the player, decided to give an interview, like other athletes and men decide to do to discuss personal matters.
‘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.
‘These days tolerance is a buzz word and we need to respect what others think and say, provided it doesn’t impact what I do.
‘None of my players have made a comment regarding the interview, at all.
‘Cristiano Ronaldo is a free man. The buzz and discussion [around him] is taking place outside the national team. It doesn’t impact us.
‘It’s a fact he’s suffering from gastroenteritis. Any player will struggle if you’re suffering from that. He’s not ready to play.’
Asked if he has ever been forced to put Ronaldo into his starting XI, Santos said: ‘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 with the national team. If the head coach is forced to put a player in the XI… there aren’t those things here.’
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