Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo has been pictured training with his national team ahead of their upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers. The 38-year-old took part in some conditioning work on Monday evening, marking his first call up since signing for Al Nassr in January. Portugal is set to face Liechtenstein and Luxembourg in their bid to qualify for the finals in Germany next year.
Ronaldo has the opportunity to become the most capped player in international football history if new boss Roberto Martinez opts to throw him into the action. He equaled the record of 196 caps held by Kuwait forward Badr Al-Mutawa during Portugal’s World Cup quarter-final defeat to Morocco in December. Now, Ronaldo has the chance to break the record on home soil when Portugal host Liechtenstein on Thursday.
Breaking the record would provide Ronaldo with the added touch of doing so on the ground where he started his career – Sporting’s Estadio Jose Alvalade. Ronaldo’s international future was thrown into doubt following Portugal’s World Cup exit, with some believing the former Manchester United star would retire from national team duties. However, Martinez was in no doubt that he could still count on Ronaldo in their quest for Euro 2024 qualification.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner was dropped by former coach Fernando Santos in what was widely expected to be his final World Cup appearance. Santos did not take kindly to Ronaldo’s reaction to being substituted in Portugal’s final group game against South Korea. He was subsequently dropped for the round-of-16 clash with Switzerland and replaced by Benfica striker Goncalo Ramos, who went on to net a hattrick.
Ramos held onto his place against Morocco at Ronaldo’s expense but neither player could prevent Portugal crashing out after a 1-0 defeat. Santos’ exit appears to have changed nothing for Ronaldo who finds himself fronting a new era for the national team.