The new Portugal coach is going to reveal his first list and has decided the thorny issue of Cristiano Ronaldo.
While the highly likely selection of Olivier Giroud for the France team has Jerome Rothen stunned, given the AC Milan forward’s progress, other national teams are having the same kind of problems. It is never easy to turn the page, especially when you have made the history of your country. This is the case of Olivier Giroud, even more than the case of Cristiano Ronaldo with Portugal.
Ronaldo is against Liechtenstein?
The Portuguese international is at a crossroads of choice. After seeing his situation develop negatively during the World Cup, the Portuguese saw the appointment of a new coach that could mark the end of his reign in the national team. But after weeks of doubt, the veil has now been lifted.
And in all likelihood, Roberto Martinez is already counting on Cristiano Ronaldo. So, the Athletic claims, Martínez spoke to the veteran forward this week before deciding to contact him. Cristiano Ronaldo had refused to comment on his international future after being sent off by Fernando Santos in Qatar, before losing in the quarter-finals to Moroccan players.
The end of the state of grace?
The 38-year-old also left Europe late last year to join the Saudi club Al-Nasr, with whom he scored eight goals in nine matches. Although there is no indication yet of how much he will be involved in the qualifiers, it seems that Ronaldo remains determined to represent his country, as these qualifiers will also give him the opportunity to continue his individual exploits.
The Portuguese star currently has the highest number of matches in the history of men’s football with Kuwaiti Bader Al-Mutawa, who will be the same against the Philippines on the day Portugal hosts Liechtenstein. For Roberto Martinez, this match will be the first since he took over after leaving Belgium at the end of the World Cup. The Spaniard is likely to become the fifth coach to play under Ronaldo in his nearly 20-year international career.
While a starting spot is not guaranteed – not least due to Benfica’s fine form Goncalo Ramos – the 38-year-old could potentially play against Liechtenstein and Ireland to some extent. But before that, Ronaldo will play for the last time with Al-Nasr, which hosts Abha in the Saudi Professional League on Saturday.