Is Cristiano Ronaldo playing vs. Nigeria? Latest news ahead of … – Sporting News

Portugal take on Nigeria at Estadio Jose Alvalade on Thursday to complete their preparations for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The three-time African champions will provide the 2016 European champions with a stern test ahead of their World Cup Group H matches against Ghana, Uruguay and South Korea.
Fernando Santos’ men will be expected to qualify for the knockout stages and, after a disappointing UEFA Nations League campaign in which they finished one point behind group winners Spain, Portugal will be hoping for a win in their final World Cup warmup match.
Veteran Portugal talisman Cristiano Ronaldo has dominated football headlines in the week leading up to the start of the World Cup, and Santos was asked about the Manchester United star in his press conference ahead of the match against Nigeria.
MORE: Charting Messi & Ronaldo’s incredible journey to their final World Cup
After a week in which Ronaldo gave a searing interview and lashed out at Manchester United, Portugal coach Santos confirmed the 37-year-old had fallen ill.
Ronaldo missed Portugal’s training session on Wednesday, November 16 due to a bout of gastroenteritis.
RB Leipzig attacker Andre Silva is likely to take Ronaldo’s place in the Portugal attack for the clash against the Super Eagles.
Meanwhile, Ronaldo will hope to recover from his illness in time to be involved in Portugal’s opening World Cup fixture against Ghana on November 24.
MORE: Portugal vs. Nigeria World Cup 2022 warmup time, live stream, TV channel, lineups, and betting odds
Ronaldo has been making many headlines away from the pitch this week, as he took part in an explosive interview with British journalist Piers Morgan.
The interview, in which the first part of two was released on November 16, features Ronaldo strongly criticising many players and staff at club side Manchester United, including current coach Erik Ten Haag.
There were concerns that this could derail Portugal’s preparations for the tournament as Ronaldo has some club teammates also in the national side. These fears were heightened when video emerged of Bruno Fernandes giving his compatriot a frosty reception when the national team first convened.
However, coach Santos insisted in a news conference on Wednesday that the interview was ‘not a distraction’, and players Joao Mario and Fernandes himself have downplayed the incident, claiming it was an inside joke between the pair.
Bruno Fernandes gives Cristiano Ronaldo a frosty reception as Portugal meet for the World Cup.
If Ronaldo can recover from his illness, the Portugal captain will be the first name on the teamsheet in Portugal’s first group game against Ghana on November 24.
This is followed by a match against South American heavyweights Uruguay on November 28, and their group stage is rounded off on December 2 against South Korea.
Depending on where Portugal finish in the group, matchups against Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon could await them in the Round of 16.
*Only in event of defeat in semifinals
*Only in event of defeat in semifinals
Despite having one of the most illustrious careers in football history, Ronaldo has been unable to win the World Cup in his first four attempts.
After making the semi-final’s in 2006 when he was 21-years-old, Portugal’s World Cup campaigns have been relatively disappointing, going out in the Round of 16 in 2010 and 2018, and failing to make it out of the group in 2014.
In what will be his fifth and most likely last World Cup, it’s now or never for CR7 as he looks to crown the ultimate career by becoming world champion.
Portugal will face Nigeria in their final match before launching their World Cup campaign, at the Estadio Jose Alvalade in Lisbon.
They will then fly out to Qatar to open their tournament against Ghana on Nov. 24.


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