Cristiano Ronaldo has been ruled out of Portugal’s only warm-up friendly before the start of the World Cup due to a stomach bug.

Portugal face Nigeria in Lisbon on Thursday night before heading out to Qatar, with the squad having gathered at the national team facilities earlier in the week.

Ronaldo trained on Monday and Tuesday as normal but was then absent on Wednesday.

“Ronaldo has a gastritis and did not train today in order to recover and rest,” Portugal coach Fernando Santos said after the session. “It’s a condition that doesn’t help much, as it affects the players a lot, they lose a lot of liquid, they weaken. He won’t be ready for [Thursday], for sure.”

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Santos was asked to doubly confirm that Ronaldo is actually ill and his absence is nothing to do with the fallout of his controversial interview that is being released in two parts this week.

“If it were another player, we wouldn’t question it, but yes, he really has gastritis and is in no condition to play,” Santos said.

“What I’m interested in is what is being spoken in our camp and not what is being said outside. We have to respect his decision. He doesn’t talk about the national team; it’s a very personal interview, and we have to respect that. I didn’t see anyone in the national team commenting on the matter.

“He talks about his club and the relationship he has with the club. It has no impact on the national team.”

In Group H, Portugal are among the last countries to begin their World Cup and will play Ghana in their opening match of the tournament on 24 November.


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