Ronaldo in 'spectacular shape' for World Cup, says Portugal teammate Neves

Wolves midfielder insists explosive TV interview has not been a distraction for the Portugal team

Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Ruben Neves has dismissed the distractions surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo by insisting the Portugal captain is in "spectacular shape" ahead of the start of the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

The fallout from Ronaldo's explosive TV interview - where he accused Manchester United of betrayal and said he doesn't "respect" manager Erik ten Hag - has continued as the club weighs up its options regarding the 37-year-old forward's future.

The saga could also have the potential to destabilise Portugal's World Cup preparations, with Ronaldo appearing to exchange a frosty handshake with club teammate Bruno Fernandes, although Fernandes insisted he was "joking".

Ronaldo's own preparation for the tournament were dealt a minor setback when he missed Portugal's warm-up match against Nigeria with a stomach bug, but Neves said he now looks back in peak form.

"From what I've seen in training, he's in spectacular shape," Neves told a news conference in Qatar on Sunday. "He doesn't worry us at all, we as a team know perfectly well what we need to work on so that each individual stands out on gameday."

"If we're good as a team, Cristiano will be phenomenal."

Neves also said Cristiano Ronaldo's TV interview had not been a distraction in the Portugal changing room.

"Sure, it's impossible for us to walk around without been asked about the controversy, but I don't think there's any controversy at all between us in the changing room," added 25-year-old Neves. "We have a spectacular environment right here."

After missing Thursday's friendly against Nigeria in Lisbon, Ronaldo trained normally on Saturday, smiling and joking with his teammates.

Portugal are in World Cup Group H with Ghana, Uruguay and South Korea.

Updated: November 20, 2022, 9:08 AM
MORE FROM THE NATIONAL