Portugal hoping Ronaldo can continue his good form in Russia

Portugal won 2-1 the only time it faced Mexico in an official match, in the group stage of the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

KAZAN, Russia (AP) - Cristiano Ronaldo is in the spotlight again, but this time not for his skills as a player.

The FIFA Confederations Cup is soccer's ultimate warm-up act.

Ronaldo was peaking when he ended his season with Real Madrid, and now is looking to continue his good form with the national team in Russian Federation. Much like the Nashville Predators against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins, opposing teams at both club and global levels will not have an answer for him as long as he is.

Cedric Soares and Pepe, who had been practicing separately because they were not fully fit, joined the rest of Portugal's group in Thursday's (Friday, PHL time) session at Rubin Kazan's training grounds. Portugal will play against Mexico in a Confederations Cup, Group A soccer match sche.

Portugal's triumph at Euro 2016 secured them a place in Russian Federation, where they will be making their Confederations Cup debut against CONCACAF Gold Cup winners Mexico in Group A before facing the hosts and New Zealand.

Ronaldo a year ago extended his contract with the Spanish team until June 21, saying he wanted to end his career at the club.

African champions Cameroon open their Confederations Cup campaign against their South American counterparts in Moscow on Sunday with Broos wary of a talented Chile squad led by the likes of Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez. "Without doubt he will have a great Confederations Cup".

After the report, global media filled Portugal's training session in Kazan, where Ronaldo trained normally with the rest of the squad. "And he works harder than anyone", Carvalho said. "He is 100 percent focused on this competition and he will be helping us".

Ronaldo insisted Wednesday he had a "clear conscience" after Spanish prosecutors accused the Real Madrid star of evading 14.7 million euros in tax through offshore companies.

The Portuguese sports daily A Bola published a front-page story Friday saying that Ronaldo was upset with the accusations made against him and that his decision to leave Madrid was "irreversible".

"Portugal always shows ambition in every competition that it plays", Alves said.

Joachim Low, coach of world champions Germany, recently described Chile as one of the top three teams in the world, and Broos subscribes to that view, adding: "I think he's totally correct. All these issues will not affect us".

The 10th FIFA Confederations Cup gets underway on Saturday, but anyone looking for clues as to who will triumph at Russian Federation 2018 should be mindful that no team has ever won this tournament and then gone on to lift the World Cup the following year.

Ronaldo's staff did not immediately respond to messages asking for a comment.

Ronaldo has scored an impressive 406 goals in 396 games for Los Blancos and off the back of a double-winning season in which he netted twice in the Champions League final, the Madeira man is reportedly unhappy.


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