Football: first time since World Cup to Ronaldo recalled by Portugal - SportsGuru

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Friday, March 15, 2019

Football: first time since World Cup to Ronaldo recalled by Portugal

Cristiano Ronaldo was recalled by the Portuguese national squad on Friday for the first time since last year World Cup.

The 34-year-old, who is Portugal's most capped player with 154 appearances and all-time leading scorer with 85 goals, had not been included for any games in the second half of last year.

Portugal continued to flourish without Ronaldo, winning their Nations League group against Poland and Italy with a game to spare to qualify for the final four-team tournament which the country will host in June.

However, any doubts about his future were removed when Ronaldo's name was among 25 read by Santos during a news conference for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Ukraine and Serbia

"Cristiano is the best player in the world and is returning to his team," said Santos. "Any team is stronger with him."

Portugal host Serbia in Lisbon on March 22 and Ukraine three days later.

FIFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Infantino is expected to hold a news conference following the council meeting on Friday.

The Club World Cup is currently an annual seven-team tournament which attracts minimal interest in Europe -- the centre of the football business.

UEFA, European football's governing body, is unlikely to fight Infantino's plans at Friday's council, with the proposal expected to be passed on to a further meeting ahead of June's congress.

But it is hard to see how a 2021 edition could go ahead without the star attractions -- Europe's top clubs.

The FIFA Council is also expected to decide to continue exploring plans to expand the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to 48 teams with the possibility of additional hosting in other countries.

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