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‘The king is back!’ – Ronaldo thrilled as Portugal handed World Cup boost

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Ahead of Tuesday’s World Cup play-off final against North Macedonia, Pepe has returned to training for Portugal.

Cristiano Ronaldo excitedly welcomed back Portugal teammate Pepe to training on Sunday morning.

Pepe missed Thursday’s 3-1 win over Turkey in the World Cup play-off semi-finals after testing positive for COVID-19. The experienced Porto defender, however, has got the all-clear to return to action this week.

“The king is back! Pepe is back in the house! Look out!” shouted a smiling Ronaldo as Pepe emerged from the dressing room for a training session on Sunday morning.

Moutinho & Silva wary of North Macedonia threat

Despite entering the qualifying play-off final as favorites against North Macedonia, Portugal refuse to take the threat of a side that eliminated European champions Italy in the semi-finals last week lightly.

“I won’t lie to you, we were all expecting it to be Italy,” said Portugal midfielder Joao Moutinho.

“Football is different nowadays, every team can win at this level, it doesn’t matter the names, numbers or stats. North Macedonia have an extraordinary core and will do their best to make our life miserable on Tuesday.”

Manchester City forward Bernardo Silva added: “North Macedonia won four of their last five World Cup Qualifying matches as a visitor, two of them against giants like Germany and Italy– that says a lot.”