Cristiano Ronaldo begins World Cup campaign with Portugal after Manchester United departure



CNN

Two days after his departure from Manchester United, Cristiano Ronaldo will start his World Cup tour with Portugal and look at the events from the week and the last half behind him.

Portugal will face Ghana at Stadium 974 on Friday, kicking off what will be the 37-year-old Ronaldo’s final World Cup – a trophy that has eluded him during his decoration business.

The successful tournament in Qatar will allow Ronaldo to move on from his marriage with United after completing his second spell at the club on Tuesday.

It came after the former gave an explosive interview to Talk TV in which he claimed he had been betrayed by United and launched an attack on manager Erik ten Hag.

And as the World Cup kicks off, Ronaldo has given assurances that his Portuguese teammates will not be swayed by the timing of his bombshell interview.

“In my life, it’s the best time I’ve had,” he told reporters on Monday. “I don’t have to think about what other people think. I say what I want. The players know me well for many years and know what I am like.”

After announcing his departure from Manchester United, Ronaldo was suspended for two games and fined £50,000 (about $60,000) by the English Football Association (FA) for hitting the cell phone from the viewer’s hand earlier this year.

The incident came after United lost 1-0 in April at Everton. On top of the pay and suspension – which is not related to the World Cup but will be transferred to a new club he joins – Ronaldo has been told by the FA about his future work.

Portugal are strong favorites against Ghana with 52 points separating the sides in the FIFA rankings.

But the power of the grandson and the star in this World Cup, a tournament where the underdogs stand up well against strong opponents.

Saudi Arabia came from behind to beat Argentina 2-1 while Japan did the same to Germany – clear signs that neither team should be downplayed, neither team should be complacent.

Having not reached the quarterfinals of the World Cup since 2006, Portugal had something to prove in Qatar and reached the tournament with a lot of fire.

Despite missing Liverpool forward Diogo Jota through injury, the likes of Ronaldo, his former United team-mate Bruno Fernandes, and Manchester City stars João Cancelo and Bernardo Silva will feature. held on Friday.

Against them will be a Ghanaian team short on form but not lacking in quality.

After being kicked out of the African Cup of Nations following the team’s defeat to Comoros in January, the Black Stars will benefit from the “signs” of forward Inaki Williams and right-back Tariq Lamptey in before the competition.

Williams switched deals from Spain earlier this year and Lamptey from England.

Otto Addo – who is the only part-time coach in the tournament – also has his star midfielder Mohammed Kudus and experienced midfielders such as Thomas Partey and the Ayew brothers, Jordan and Andre .

Otto Addo speaks to media ahead of Ghana's match against Portugal.

Addo, who is active as a scout for the German club Borussia Dortmund, could press for Ghana to be recognized.

Also in Group H are Uruguay and South Korea, who play each other at the Education City Stadium on Friday.

Uruguay are the favorites and will benefit from the experience of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez. Liverpool forward Darwin Núñez will also feature in attack, while midfielders Rodrigo Bentancur and Federico Valverde have been in excellent form these days.

The good news for South Korea is that star player Son Heung-Min has recovered from a damaged eye and has been training with a protective mask this week.

In Friday’s other games, pre-tournament favorites Brazil and Serbia will be the last two teams to kick off their campaign when they meet at the Lusail Stadium.

The five-time champion Brazil promises the best attacking line in the tournament, in terms of quality and depth.

Neymar Jr – like fellow talismans Ronaldo and Lionel Messi – is looking for his first World Cup title, and he is well supported up front with Real Madrid’s Vinicius Jr., Barcelona’s Raphinha, and Everton’s Richarlison.

Neymar (centre) trains with Brazil in Doha, Qatar ahead of the World Cup.

But Serbia, who topped their group ahead of Portugal, were not to be outdone and scored plenty of goals from captain Dušan Tadić, Juventus striker Dušan Vlahović, and the Fulham forward. Aleksandar Mitrovic. However, Vlahović and Mitrovic are the babysitters before the competition.

Aiming to reach the knockout stages of the World Cup for the first time, Serbia may have to fight with Switzerland and Cameroon, who face each other on Friday, to reach the round of 16 – defense to disastrous consequences for Brazil.

But as this World Cup has shown so far, don’t rule out any results.

Switzerland vs Cameroon – 5am Eastern time

Uruguay vs South Korea – 8am ET

Portugal vs Ghana – 11am ET

Brazil vs. Serbia – 2pm ET

USA: Fox Sports

UK: BBC or ITV

Australia: SBS

Brazil: SportTV

Germany: ARD, ZDF, Deutsche Telekom

Canada: Bell Media

South Africa: SABC

Source

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