Soccer News: Ronaldo’s problems with Manchester United will not affect Portugal at the World Cup – Joao Mario

    Cristiano Ronaldo’s harsh criticism of Manchester United will not affect Portugal’s quest for World Cup glory in Qatar, midfielder Joao Mario insists.

    Ronaldo has endured a torrid season after reportedly expressing a desire to leave Old Trafford in the transfer window, having made just four Premier League appearances and scoring just one goal in the competition.

    After being temporarily expelled from the first team by Eric ten Hag after refusing to come on as a substitute against Tottenham last month, Ronaldo’s future at United is once again in question after his decision to give an explosive interview to Piers Morgan.

    In early interview excerpts, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner claimed he had been “betrayed” by United and said he had no respect for Ten Hag.

    Ronaldo is set to start his fifth and likely last World Cup campaign this month and his teammate João Mário does not believe Portugal will be harmed by the 37-year-old’s actions.

    “I don’t see any timing issues, so it’s normal for us,” Joao Mario said at a press conference on Tuesday.

    “I don’t think it puts extra pressure on him or us. We are used to dealing with a lot of pressure.

    “This is not the first time that a player comes to the national team having problems with his club. One advantage is that we put everything aside when we are here.

    “When we get into the national team, it’s another working group and we try to focus on what’s important.

    “The headlines are always about him. To be honest, every time we come to the national team, the first questions are always about Ronaldo. He is always in the center of attention, and we are used to it.

    “He is always happy when he plays for the national team. I saw him yesterday and he is fine as always when he comes here.

    “He is fully focused on the national team and will be of great help to us at the World Cup.”

    Portugal will start their Group H campaign against Ghana on 24 November after facing Nigeria in a pre-tournament friendly on Thursday.

    Having scored in the 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018 World Cups, Ronaldo could become the first player to score in five different tournaments when he takes the field in Qatar.

    However, all seven of his World Cup goals to date have come in the group stage – no player has scored more goals in the tournament without scoring a goal in the knockout game.

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