Cristiano Ronaldo has been named in the first Portugal squad announced by new head coach Roberto Martinez.
The former Belgium boss replaced Fernando Santos, who called time on his eight-year stint at the helm following Portugal’s quarter-final elimination at the 2022 World Cup at the hands of Morocco.
Santos benched Ronaldo for both knockout games in Qatar – a comprehensive 6-1 win over Switzerland and the 1-0 loss to the Atlas Lions.
Ahead of the qualifying campaign for Euro 2024, Martinez has opted for continuity with just two of the players selected for games against Liechtenstein and Luxembourg not featuring at the World Cup.
Ronaldo joined Saudi Pro League side Al Nassr in December after having his contract at Manchester United terminated, scoring eight goals in seven games so far, and Martinez believes the 38-year-old can still be an important figure for his country.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is a player who is very committed to the national team,” the Spaniard said. “A player like Cristiano brings experience, he is an important figure in the team. I don’t look at age or other aspects.
“I think Cristiano has an opportunity to help the team and transmit the experience of his career to the other players.”
Portugal will compete in Group J of Euro 2024 qualifying along with Iceland, Slovakia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg, and Martinez is optimistic about the Selecao’s future.
“I want to build a team that shows the qualities of the players Portugal has,” he said. “This is a starting point. I see quality, experience, youth, players that play at home and also abroad. I’ve seen a lot of commitment from all of them for the national team.”
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