Ronaldo excited to return to Portugal team
Cristiano Ronaldo and his teammates had their first training session with the new head coach of the Portugal national team, Roberto Martinez.
After arriving in Lisbon, Ronaldo immediately joined his teammates in training for the upcoming two matches in the EURO 2024 qualifiers. At the end of this month, Portugal will face Liechtenstein and Luxembourg in their journey toward the biggest national team tournament in Europe.
The Portugal national team has gathered again to prepare for their first two matches in the Euro 2024 qualifiers: hosting Liechtenstein on March 23 and playing as guests against Luxembourg on March 26. This is also the first time new head coach Roberto Martinez has worked with the team, after replacing Fernando Santos.
During the training session, Ronaldo was seen smiling and happy with his teammates as they did stretching exercises and stationary bike workouts. CR7 is currently the greatest scorer of all time in the national team with 118 goals for Portugal.
“Brazil Europe” facing only two weak opponents in the upcoming matches is an opportunity for the 38-year-old player to extend his record. Luxembourg is Ronaldo’s favorite opponent, with CR7 scoring 9 goals against them.
Currently, Ronaldo has played for Portugal 196 times, on par with Kuwaiti player Bader Al Mutawa. Both played as forwards, are 38 years old, and made their national team debut in 2003. Therefore, just playing in one of the upcoming two matches, Ronaldo will become the player with the most appearances in the national team’s history.
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Many people thought Ronaldo would retire from international football after Portugal’s disappointing journey at the 2022 World Cup. Four months ago, Ronaldo and Portugal ended the World Cup with many issues.
Portugal lost 0-1 to Morocco in the quarter-finals, while CR7 had to sit on the bench for young talent Goncalo Ramos. He then entered a personal battle with coach Santos, who left the team right after the tournament in Qatar.
However, Portugal’s new head coach Roberto Martinez still decided to include Ronaldo in the list of 25 players for this training session.
After the World Cup, Ronaldo moved to Saudi Arabia to play for Al Nassr. This helped the 38-year-old reduce media pressure while still playing for Man Utd. Coach Martinez went to Saudi Arabia to discuss with Ronaldo about continuing to contribute to the national team.
Ronaldo has been in excellent form for Al Nassr since joining the Saudi Arabian team in January. CR7 has scored 9 goals and provided 2 assists in 10 games on all fronts for the West Asian team.
Most recently, Ronaldo scored a stunning free-kick to help Al Nassr come from behind to beat Abha. This is a good sign for Portugal as they look to start their EURO 2024 qualifying campaign on a positive note.
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In the EURO 2024 qualifiers, Portugal is in Group J with Bosnia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and Slovakia. The teams in the group are not at the same level as Martinez’s team.
Martinez is a Spanish coach but famous for his career abroad. Martinez led the Belgian team to a World Cup 2018 bronze medal. At Euro 2021, Martinez and the Belgian team eliminated Portugal in the Round of 16.
Martinez signed a contract with the Portuguese Football Federation until the end of July 2026. He will aim to reach Euro 2024 and the 2026 World Cup with the national team.
With each group sending two teams to the finals, Portugal is likely to secure a ticket early. The final tournament will take place from June 14 to July 14, 2024, in Germany.
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