'I don't look at age!' - Cristiano Ronaldo's international career CONTINUES as Portugal legend named in Roberto Martinez's first squad
- Ronaldo called up at 38 years-of-age
- Martinez's first Portugal squad since taking over
- Ex-Belgian boss said he "doesn't look at age"
WHAT HAPPENED? The veteran forward had been coy with his international future after Portugal's last-eight disappointment to Morocco in Qatar. However, after it was reported that Martinez would likely once again rely on Ronaldo to lead the line, the news was confirmed on Friday in what was the Spaniard's first squad since taking over from Fernando Santos at the helm in January.
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𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗖𝗛𝗢𝗦𝗘𝗡 𝗢𝗡𝗘𝗦. ⚡🇵🇹 Senhoras e senhores, estes são os eleitos de Roberto Martínez para os próximos jogos 👊 #VesteABandeira pic.twitter.com/gS1r0cuhYH— Portugal (@selecaoportugal) March 17, 2023
WHAT THEY SAID: On the decision to select Ronaldo, Martinez told reporters: “Cristiano Ronaldo is a very committed player. He can bring experience and is a very important figure for the team. I don't look at age.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Ronaldo is called up despite falling out of favour under Santos and being replaced in the XI by Benfica forward Goncalo Ramos, who is also selected following his dazzling displays for the Portuguese side this season. There is also room for Chelsea loanee Joao Felix and Liverpool's Diogo Jota, despite the latter slowly getting back up to pace following a calf injury sustained in mid-October.
AND WHAT'S MORE: Currently level with Kuwait's Bader Al-Mutawa on 196 international appearances - the joint-most in men's football history - Ronaldo will have the opportunity to surpass that tally in his side's opening two European qualifiers.
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WHAT NEXT FOR RONALDO? Whether as a starter or from the bench, the 38-year-old will likely feature for Portugal in some capacity when they play Liechtenstein and Luxembourg on March 23 and 26, respectively.