Cristiano Ronaldo promise fulfilled as Portugal future confirmed after retirement tease


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Cristiano Ronaldo part of new Portugal coach Roberto Martinez’s plans


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Cristiano Ronaldo has been included in Roberto Martinez’s first Portugal squad as the new manager fulfilled his promise over the striker.

Ronaldo endured a frustrating World Cup as Portugal were beaten 1-0 by Morocco in their quarter-final in Qatar. The 38-year-old went straight down the tunnel in tears after missing out on the chance to add the only major honour missing from his glittering CV. Ronaldo’s 118 international goals is a record in football.

The striker was dropped from the starting line-up for Portugal’s Round of 16 6-1 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 former Manchester United striker coming on as a second-half substitute in both matches.

It appeared that Ronaldo’s 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 Ronaldo’s inclusion: “ Cristiano Ronaldo is a very committed player. He can bring experience and is a very important figure for the team. I don’t look at age.”

Upon his appointment in the Portugal role, former Belgium boss Martinez explained over Ronaldo’s future: “Football decisions have to be taken on the field of play. I’m 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.

Ronaldo's relationship with former Portugal boss Fernando Santos soured at the World Cup

Ronaldo’s relationship with former Portugal boss Fernando Santos soured at the World Cup© David Ramos – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

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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.”

Ronaldo ended his relationship with Manchester United by mutual consent in November, on the eve of the World Cup, following a bombshell interview with Piers Morgan. The Portuguese star completed a stunning move to Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr in January and 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, it’s 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. It’s 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 Fernandes and Bernardo Silva among their depth of attacking options.

The Mirror

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