Portugal sidesteps Ronaldo's legal woes at Confed Cup

Vincent De Villiers
Junho 21, 2017

Portugal defender Pepe insists that the team are ignoring the ongoing speculation over Cristiano Ronaldo's future at Real Madrid during their Confederations Cup campaign. Having opened their Confed Cup campaign with a 2-0 win over New Zealand, Russia face a step up against Euro 2016 winners Portugal and their troubled superstar captain.

Last week, a Spanish state prosecutor accused Ronaldo of defrauding Spain's tax office of 14.7 million euros ($16.5 million) in unpaid taxes.

Ramos and Zidane have apparently tried to convince Ronaldo to stay, insisting that Real is the flawless team for the four-time Ballon d'Or victor to add more silverware.

The European champions conceded an injury-time equaliser to draw 2-2 with Mexico in what was a highly entertaining finish to a good game in their tournament opener. "We had enough chances to win the game".

He said: "We are professionals and we are just thinking about doing our best in the Confederations Cup, to go as far as possible in this tournament".

Russian Federation know one of the keys to derailing Portugal is ensuring Ronaldo has a quiet match at Moscow's Spartak Stadium.

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"But we played them in October in front of 40,000 fans, it was a close game and we caused them problems".

The hosts will have vocal home support as their captain and goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev is set to make his 100th worldwide appearance.

Portugal manager Fernando Santos has suggested that he will rotate his squad through the group stages, with the final game in particular against New Zealand likely to see plenty of changes in personnel. After Portugal's defensive frailties were exposed against Mexico, Santos could inject some pace in midfield by starting with Gelson Martins, Nelson Semedo and Andre Silva.

After a 21st minute free kick taken by Cristiano Ronaldo struck the wall, the ball was sent back into the area where four Portugal players were in offside positions and one of them challenged for the ball, meaning he was offside.

"The Russian team is very cohesive, they all work hard and shorten spaces, we're preparing well and being humble", said the 34-year-old.

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