Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival in Doha marks his fifth — and possibly final — World Cup following the Portuguese captain’s public falling out with Manchester United last week.
Cristiano Ronaldo has participated in his first Qatar World Cup training session following a bout with gastroenteritis, as Portugal gets ready to take on Ghana in their debut match.
On Saturday, a day after landing in the host nation, Ronaldo resumed training with Portugal, marking the team’s first collective training session since arriving in Doha.
Portugal, drawn into Group H, plays Ghana on Thursday; they play Uruguay on November 28 and South Korea on December 2.
Approaching his fifth World Cup appearance, this could be Ronaldo’s last as the Portuguese captain has repeatedly hinted at retirement in recent years.
The Manchester United forward’s arrival in Qatar comes as his club career also appears to be in doubt. Last week, during a scathing interview with Piers Morgan, Ronaldo said he felt “betrayed” by the Old Trafford Club and added he had no respect for head coach Erik ten Hag.
“The owners of the club, [the] Glazers… they don’t care — I mean professionally, sportingly,” Ronaldo said in the interview. “They don’t care. I never spoke to them, never.”
Manchester United has not directly responded to the remarks but is rumoured to be exploring legal options, which would allow the club to dispense of the star forward prematurely.
“Manchester United has this morning initiated appropriate steps in response to Cristiano Ronaldo’s recent media interview,” the club said in a statement on Friday.
They added: “We will not be making further comment until this process reaches its conclusion.”
Portugal’s midfielder Bernardo Silva, however, brushed off speculation that the ordeal had become a distraction for the national team.
“The news that comes from England has nothing to do with the national team so I won’t say anything,” Silva said in a recent interview.
Portugal’s best World Cup finish came in 1966 when the national squad claimed third place in England. They have not made it to the quarter-finals since the 2006 World Cup in Germany when they captured fourth place.