Cristiano Ronaldo is set to return to action for his native Portugal in the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers.
The Real Madrid star is among the four changes the Euro 2016 champions would be making to the line-up in the game against Andorra and Faroe Islands. Ronaldo picked up a knee injury during the final match of the Euro 2016. Portugal seemed to have fared well without him as they begun their World Cup qualifier campaign with a 2-0 loss to Switzerland.
Coach Fernando Santos will definitely be glad to have him back in the national team set-up, particularly in his current form. Ronaldo scored in the 2-2 draw against Dortmund for Real Madrid this week, and seem to have fully recovered from the injury that gave him an extended summer break.
“The squad is stronger because it has Cristiano, but mostly because the other players have more minutes, longer work, more training under their belts. This is one of the problems against Switzerland,” Santos said.
Santos has a thing for regularly-playing footballers.
This is the rationale behind dropping left back Eliseu and Fabio Coentrao despite their football talent. Santos didn’t even consider leaving out veteran defender Ricardo Carvalho as he couldn’t get playing time. Carvalho remains unattached since leaving Monaco this summer. The player’s career has been on a decline, and he might be tempted to hang his boots anytime soon.
Santos wants the goals to flow in, so he would field two players upfront. “Ronaldo and another,” he revealed. “Portugal always play with two strikers and will play in the same strategy. It is safe. The spirit we showed in the Euro is our trademark and we must keep that. We have to leave behind the European champions ‘party’ mode, that cannot happen again.”