Ronaldo included in Portugal team for European Championship qualifiers

Shailesh Khanduri
18 Mar 2023
Ronaldo included in Portugal team for European Championship qualifiers

Cristiano Ronaldo (File photo)

Lisbon: New Portugal coach Roberto Martinez included Cristiano Ronaldo in his first squad since taking over from Fernando Santos following the World Cup.

The 38-year-old Ronaldo was left out of Santos' starting lineup for Portugal's knockout-phase games at the tournament in Qatar, including the quarterfinal loss to Morocco.

Ronaldo, who plays for Saudi team Al-Nassr, can add to his international record 118 goals when Portugal plays European Championship qualifiers against Liechtenstein on March 23 and at Luxembourg three days later.

"Cristiano Ronaldo is a player who is completely committed to the national team," Martinez said. "I don't look at age or other aspects. He has the chance to help the team and pass on his experience to other players."

Martinez made very few changes to the squad he inherited from Santos. Pepe, aged 40, was back again in defense, while Ronaldo was joined by Joao Felix, Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva as playmakers.

Martinez joined Portugal after the Spaniard ended his six-year stint with Belgium following the team's disappointing group-stage elimination at the World Cup.

Portugal's Euro 2024 qualifying group also includes Iceland, Slovakia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. (AP)

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