Portugal coach Fernando Santos insists that Cristiano Ronaldo remains a part of the team, despite his long absence
The Navigators’ all-time record goalscorer has not featured since their 2-1 defeat to Uruguay in the last-16 at the World Cup on June 30.
Santos again refused to disclose the reasons for Ronaldo’s no-show earlier this month and instead wished him luck for a sixth Ballon d’Or.
However, Portugal have done well in Ronaldo’s absence and became the first team to qualify for the UEFA Nations League finals after drawing 0-0 at Italy on Saturday.
Despite that though, Santos is adamant Ronaldo remains a key member of the team.
“There is no doubt. If you still have doubts, I don’t know,” Santos told reporters on beinSPORTS.
“But Cristiano Ronaldo is part of this team.”
Since debuting in 2003, Ronaldo has scored 85 goals and assisted 37 in a record 154 appearances for Portugal.
Only former Iran forward Ali Daei has scored more international goals than Ronaldo at 109.
Portugal will return to action for their final Nations League match against the relegated Poland on Tuesday.
☝! Portugal é a primeira Seleção a qualificar-se para as fases finais das 4 competições! 🇵🇹 #TudoPorPortugal
🏆 UEFA Nations League
🏆 World Cup
🏆 Conferederations Cup
— Portugal (@selecaoportugal) November 18, 2018