Cristiano Ronaldo remains in the Portugal squad under new boss Roberto Martinez despite leaving European football to play for Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr in January
Cristiano Ronaldo has been included inRoberto Martinezs first Portugal squadas the new manager fulfilled hispromise over the striker.
Ronaldo endured a frustrating World Cup as Portugal werebeaten 1-0 by Morocco in their quarter-final in Qatar.The 38-year-old wentstraight down the tunnel in tearsafter missing out on the chance to add the only major honour missing from his glittering CV. Ronaldos 118 international goals is a record in football.
The striker was dropped from the starting line-up for Portugals Round of 166-1 demolition of Switzerland,with his replacement Goncalo Ramos netting a hat-trick. Ramos was again preferred over Ronaldo for the quarter-final loss to Morocco, with the formerManchester Unitedstriker coming on as a second-half substitute in both matches.
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It appeared that Ronaldos relationship with previous Portugal boss Fernando Santos had deteriorated due to the change in team selection during the knockout matches and neither party moving to publicly resolve the issue.
Martinez has said of Ronaldos inclusion: Cristiano Ronaldois a very committed player. He can bring experience and is a very important figure for the team. I dont look at age.
Upon his appointment in the Portugal role, former Belgium boss Martinez explained over Ronaldos future: Football decisions have to be taken on the field of play. Im not an office decision-making coach. So my starting point is to get to all the players and I want to get in touch with them.
The list of 26 players from the World Cup is my starting point and Cristiano is a player on that list, he has been with the national team for 19 years and he deserves the respect of being able to sit down and talk.
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From there it is to create, in ten weeks, the best team for our matches, for the qualification for the European Championship. Today is a day of satisfaction. Tomorrow we will start working, getting to know all the players and Cristiano is one of them.
Ronaldoended his relationship with Manchester United by mutual consent in November, on the eve of the World Cup, followinga bombshell interview with Piers Morgan. The Portuguese starcompleted a stunning move to Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr in Januaryand is expected to earn in the region of 173million per year.
His move to the Middle East attracted some criticism, including from Jamie Carragher. In some ways, its a sad end for him, Carragher explained to Sky Sports. Two of the greatest players in Messi and Ronaldo - Ronaldo has finished his career during an interview with Piers Morgan and Messi has won the World Cup. Its not the best way to go out.
Ronaldo remains part of the Portugal squad, who have no shortage of attacking talent including Benfica striker Ramos, with Joao Felix, Rafael Leao, Diogo Jota,Bruno Fernandesand Bernardo Silva among their depth of attacking options.
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