Cristiano Ronaldo ruled out of World Cup warm-up game, Portugal boss Santos ‘respects’ interview

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Cristiano Ronaldo has developed gastritis ahead of the World Cup, according to Portugal head coach Fernando Santos.

Cristiano Ronaldo will not play in Portugal’s World Cup warm-up game against Nigeria on Thursday because of illness, according to head coach Fernando Santos.

The Portuguese boss also dismissed concerns over Ronaldo’s explosive interview with Piers Morgan in which he criticized his club Manchester United.

The player did not say anything disparaging about his national team despite receiving a frosty reception from compatriot and United team-mate Bruno Fernandes when he arrived to prepare for the World Cup in Qatar, which starts on Sunday.

Santos said in a press conference: “Ronaldo has gastritis and he didn’t train today to recover and rest. It’s a condition that doesn’t help much because it affects the players a lot, they lose a lot of fluids, weaken. He will definitely not be ready for tomorrow.”

Santos also denied it was an excuse for Ronaldo to stay out of the limelight as the media continue to debate his comments about United boss Erik ten Hag and the overall state of the club he returned to last year.

“[Ronaldo] didn’t have to inform us of the conversation,” added Santos. “Is he not free [to make his decisions]?

“What I care about is what is being said in our camp, not what is being said outside. We have to respect his decision.”

“We have to respect the interview he gave. It has nothing to do with the national team.”

Portugal open their World Cup campaign against Ghana on November 24 before facing Uruguay and South Korea in Group H.

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