International friendlies: Cristiano Ronaldo left out of Portugal squad for upcoming matches
Cristiano Ronaldo was surprisingly left out of the Portugal squad announced on Friday by coach Fernando Santos, who suggested it was merely to give his superstar a break.
Lisbon: Cristiano Ronaldo was surprisingly left out of the Portugal squad announced on Friday by coach Fernando Santos, who suggested it was merely to give his superstar a break.
Santos denied the omission was due to the four-time Ballon d'Or winner's relatively meagre goal-scoring start to the Spanish league season.
Ronaldo has scored only one goal in six La Liga games for Real Madrid, although he has been on fire in Europe with six goals in four matches.
"Do you think that would be a reason to leave out Ronaldo? No, impossible," Santos said of the former Manchester United star's league form.
Portugal face Saudi Arabia and the United States in a pair of low-key friendlies on 10 and 14 November.
Ronaldo is likely being merely rested, as he was for Portugal's final Confederations Cup match in Russia in June, a meaningless third-place play-off victory over Mexico.
Santos's 24-man squad is also missing several other stalwarts including goalkeeper Rui Patricio, defender Jose Fonte, midfielders William Carvalho, Joao Moutinho and Andre Gomes and winger Ricardo Quaresma.
"Some aren't there simply to rest while others are injured," explained Santos.
Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Lyon/FRA), Beto (Goztepe/TUR), Jose Sa (FC Porto).
Defenders : Edgar Ie (Lille/FRA), Joao Cancelo (Inter Milan/ITA), Pepe (Besiktas/TUR), Kevin Rodrigues (Real Sociedad/ESP), Luis Neto (Fenerbahçe/TUR), Nelson Semedo (Barcelona/ESP), Ricardo Pereira (FC Porto), Ricardo Ferreira (Braga), Antunes (Getafe/ESP).
Midfielders: Bernardo Silva (Manchester City/ENG), Bruno Fernandes (Sporting Lisbon), Danilo Pereira (FC Porto), Joao Mario (Inter Milan/ITA), Manuel Fernandes (Lokomotiv Moscow/RUS), Rony Lopes (Monaco/FRA), Ruben Neves (Wolverhampton/ENG).
Forwards: Andre Silva (AC Milan/ITA), Bruma (RB Leipzig/GER), Eder (Lokomotiv Moscow/RUS), Gelson Martins (Sporting Lisbon), Goncalo Guedes (Valencia/ESP).
Cristiano Ronaldo's discarded Portugal armband up for auction to help collect money for six-month-old baby's surgery
While heading straight into the dressing room before the final whistle, Ronaldo angrily threw down his captain armband near the touchline.
"I think my team has been underestimated," said Zidane in a press conference on Monday. "We are going to fight for everything. We have had difficult moments this season and now we are better but it doesn't mean anything tomorrow."
It remains the case that while Kroos' standing in the world's most successful midfield trio is unquestioned, he rarely enjoys the kind of praise aimed at the likes of Karim Benzema, Sergio Ramos, Casemiro or Luka Modric.