Cristiano Ronaldo begins World Cup campaign with Portugal after departure from Manchester United


Two days after his turbulent departure from Manchester United, Cristiano Ronaldo will start his World Cup campaign with Portugal and look to place occasions from the final week-and-a-half behind him.

Portugal faces Ghana at Stadium 974 on Thursday, kicking off what is going to doubtless be the 37-year-old Ronaldo’s ultimate World Cup – a trophy that has to this point eluded him over the course of his embellished profession.

A profitable event in Qatar would additionally enable Ronaldo to maneuver on from his messy divorce with United having ended his second spell on the membership on Tuesday.

It got here after the ahead gave an explosive interview to Talk TV during which he stated he felt betrayed by United and launched a scathing assault on supervisor Erik ten Hag.

And because the World Cup will get underway, Ronaldo has provided assurances that the main target of his Portuguese teammates will not be shaken by the timing of his bombshell interview.

“In my life, one of the best timing is at all times my timing,” he informed reporters on Monday. “I haven’t got to consider what different folks assume. I communicate once I need. The gamers know me very well for a few years and know the kind of individual I’m.”

Following the announcement of his departure from Manchester United, Ronaldo was suspended for 2 video games and fined £50,000 (round $60,000) by the English Football Association (FA) for slapping a mobile phone out of a spectator’s hand earlier this 12 months.

The incident got here after United’s 1-0 loss in opposition to April in Everton. On high of the nice and suspension – which doesn’t apply on the World Cup however can be transferred to any new membership he joins – Ronaldo was warned by the FA about his future conduct.

Portugal is the robust favourite in opposition to Ghana with 52 locations separating the perimeters in FIFA’s rankings.

But pedigree and star energy seem to rely for little at this World Cup, a event during which underdogs have fared effectively in opposition to mightier opponents.

Saudi Arabia got here from behind to defeat Argentina 2-1 whereas Japan did the identical in opposition to Germany – clear indicators that no crew ought to be underestimated, nor ought to any crew take pleasure in complacency.

Having not reached the quarterfinals of a World Cup since 2006, Portugal has a degree to show in Qatar and arrives on the event with appreciable firepower.

Despite lacking Liverpool ahead Diogo Jota via damage, the likes of Ronaldo, his outdated United teammate Bruno Fernandes, and Manchester City stars João Cancelo and Bernardo Silva are all prone to function on Thursday.

Against them can be a Ghana crew quick on type however with no scarcity of high quality.

Having been dumped out of the Africa Cup of Nations after a humiliating group-stage defeat in opposition to Comoros in January, the Black Stars will profit from the “signings” of ahead Inaki Williams and right-back Tariq Lamptey forward of the event.

Williams switched allegiances from Spain earlier this 12 months and Lamptey from England.

Otto Addo – the one part-time coach on the event – ​​additionally has at his disposal star midfielder Mohammed Kudus and skilled campaigners together with Thomas Partey and the Ayew brothers, Jordan and Andre.

Whether Addo, who primarily works as a scout for the German crew Borussia Dortmund, can get Ghana to click on stays to be seen.

Also in Group H are Uruguay and South Korea, who play one another on the Education City Stadium on Thursday.

Uruguay is the favourite and can profit from the expertise of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez. Liverpool ahead Darwin Núñez may also function within the assault, whereas midfielders Rodrigo Bentancur and Federico Valverde have been in wonderful type of late.

The optimistic information for South Korea is that star participant Son Heung-Min has recovered from a broken eye socket and has been coaching in a protecting face masks this week.

In Thursday’s different video games, pre-tournament favourite Brazil and Serbia would be the final two groups to get their tournaments underway once they meet at Lusail Stadium.

Five-time champion Brazil arguably boasts one of the best attacking line-up within the event, each by way of high quality and depth.

Neymar Jr. – like fellow talismans Ronaldo and Lionel Messi – is looking for his first World Cup trophy, and he can be ably supported upfront alongside Real Madrid’s Vinicius Jr., Barcelona’s Raphinha, and Everton’s Richarlison.

Neymar (center) trains with Brazil in Doha, Qatar ahead of the World Cup.

But Serbia, which topped its qualifying group forward of Portugal, can be no pushover and has loads of goalscoring prowess in captain Dušan Tadić, Juventus ahead Dušan Vlahović, and Fulham entrance man Aleksandar Mitrovic. However, Vlahović and Mitrovic have each been nursing accidents forward of the event.

Hoping to succeed in the knockout levels of a World Cup for the primary time, Serbia will doubtless should battle it out with Switzerland and Cameroon, who face one another on Thursday, to succeed in the spherical of 16 – barring any disastrous outcomes for Brazil.

But as this World Cup has demonstrated to this point, do not rule out any eventuality.

Switzerland vs Cameroon – 5am Eastern time

Uruguay vs South Korea – 8am ET

Portugal vs Ghana – 11am ET

Brazil vs Serbia – 2pm ET

US: Fox Sports


Australia: SBS

Brazil: SportTV

Germany: ARD, ZDF, Deutsche Telekom

Canada: Bell Media

South Africa: SABC


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