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Cristiano Ronaldo a doubt for Portugal’s clash with South Korea

Cristiano Ronaldo a doubt for Portugal’s clash with South Korea

Portugal boss Fernando Santos has said that Cristiano Ronaldo could be absent for the team’s final group fixture at the 2022 World Cup against South Korea.

The 37-year-old missed Wednesday’s main training session, instead working in the gym, and the forward is now a major doubt for the team’s Group E game.

“Let’s see. In principle, Ronaldo will train soon. If you’re in a position. I don’t even know if it’s 50/50 [the probability of being fit for the game]. If you train normally,” Santos told reporters.

“Cristiano Ronaldo was replaced in both games. There’s a plan in case Cristiano can’t play. There is no player guaranteed to play at all time. It would hardly run if we didn’t have a plan.”

The experienced forward has started both of his country’s matches at the tournament against Ghana and Uruguay, finding the back of the net against the former from the penalty spot, which saw him become the first men’s player to score in five World Cups.

Cristiano Ronaldo scores a penalty for Portugal against Ghana at the World Cup on November 24, 2022© Reuters

Ronaldo also claimed that he had scored against Uruguay last time out, but it was adjudged that the forward had not made contact on a Bruno Fernandes delivery.

The striker hit the headlines ahead of the competition in Qatar when he gave an explosive interview to Piers Morgan on TalkTV, which led to Manchester United terminating his contract.

Ronaldo is currently being heavily linked with a move to Saudi Arabia, although there remain suggestions that he wants to remain in European football for at least another season.

The former Sporting Lisbon youngster only managed three goals for Man United in the first half of the season, with just one of those coming in the Premier League.

Danilo will again miss out against South Korea due to a rib injury, while Otavio remains a doubt with the problem that kept him out of the 2-0 win over Uruguay.

Portugal defender Nuno Mendes after suffering an injury against Uruguay at the 2022 World Cup.© Reuters

Nuno Mendes is also out of the tournament with the thigh injury that he picked up against Uruguay, but Santos has confirmed that the Paris Saint-Germain defender will stay in Qatar.

“He will continue to stay with us here in Qatar because that’s what the players wanted. The club allowed him to come here because it was important to him,” he added.

“He wanted to stay here with us, this really reflects the spirit of the team and how united we all are.

“I feel sad about those who won’t be able to play, but it has to encourage me and the other players, because we have to make up for those who aren’t there.”

Portugal are already through to the knockout round of the World Cup, and they would secure top spot in the section with a draw or a victory against South Korea.

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