Santos refuses to discuss Ronaldo future as Portugal focus on Switzerland at World Cup

Veteran attacker, without club since leaving Manchester United, has been linked with a move to Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr

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Portugal manager Fernando Santos refused to be drawn on Cristiano Ronaldo’s club future ahead of the country’s World Cup last-16 encounter with Switzerland.

Ronaldo, the Portugal captain, is without a club since leaving Manchester United last month and has been linked heavily this past week with a move to Saudi Arabia.

On Monday, reports in Spain said the forward had signed a money-spinning contract with Riyadh side Al Nassr, with the deal apparently to begin on January 1.

However, speaking later that day as he previewed Tuesday’s tie with Switzerland, Santos said: “I have not spoken to [Ronaldo] about this. I don't know about this. It is his decision. I did not even know about this and I heard about this when I arrived here.

“We are focused on the World Cup. I don't know anything about this other issue.”

Reports in Portugal have centred on whether Ronaldo would feature against Switzerland. The 2016 European champions, who qualified for the knockouts by finishing first in their group, are seeking to reach the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time since 2006.

True to form, though, Santos would not confirm if his star player would make the starting line-up at Lusail Stadium.

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“I do not read this type of information,” Santos said. “I am focused on my team. We are focusing on training and not paying attention to any polls.

“What I have always done is focus on the immediate match. I am not worried if information is right or wrong.”

On making the final eight of the tournament, Santos added: “There has been a long hiatus … what matters is this match. Portugal always have the obligation to win.

“For us it is good to feel this pressure. We want it and we really want to win. After each game, if you win the game you are closer to being a favourite.”

Updated: December 06, 2022, 6:55 AM