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Ronaldo given full backing by Portugal boss Santos

By AFP
15 September 2022   |   3:59 pm
Portugal coach Fernando Santos insists that Cristiano Ronaldo remains an important figure for the national team even if his playing time at Manchester United has been limited mainly to substitute appearances so far this season.

Portugal’s coach Fernando Santos talks with Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo during the UEFA EURO 2020 round of 16 football match between Belgium and Portugal at La Cartuja Stadium in Seville on June 27, 2021. LLUIS GENE / POOL / AFP

Portugal coach Fernando Santos insists that Cristiano Ronaldo remains an important figure for the national team even if his playing time at Manchester United has been limited mainly to substitute appearances so far this season.

Ronaldo was called up to the Portugal squad on Thursday for Nations League games against the Czech Republic on September 24 and against Spain three days later.

“I have absolutely no worries about Ronaldo’s lack of playing time for Manchester United,” Santos said.

“As with any player I have to work out what the situation is with him. But I don’t think anyone has any doubts that Ronaldo continues to be of great importance to the national team.”

Ronaldo and his partner lost their newborn son in April, and he was excused from United’s pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia in July for family reasons.

Ronaldo has only started twice for United under new boss Erik ten Hag, who on Wednesday reiterated that he was counting on the 37-year-old this season.

Portugal squad

Goalkeepers: Diogo Costa (FC Porto), Jose Sa (Wolves/ENG), Rui Patricio (Roma/ITA)

Defenders: Diogo Dalot (Manchester United/ENG), Joao Cancelo (Manchester City/ENG), Danilo Pereira (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA), Tiago Djalo (Lille/FRA), Ruben Dias (Manchester City/ENG), Pepe (FC Porto), Nuno Mendes (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund/GER)

Midfielders: Joao Palhinha (Fulham/ENG), Ruben Neves (Wolves/ENG), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United/ENG), Matheus Nunes (Wolves/ENG), Vitinha (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA), William Carvalho (Real Betis/ESP), Joao Mario (Benfica)

Forwards: Rafael Leao (AC Milan/ITA), Ricardo Horta (Braga), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United/ENG), Rafa Silva (Benfica), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City/ENG), Pedro Neto (Wolves/ENG) Diogo Jota (Liverpool/ENG), Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid/ESP)