Portugal striker Cristiano Ronaldo is suffering a stomach bug and will be left out of the team’s World Cup warm-up friendly against Nigeria on Thursday, according to his coach Fernando Santos.
Ronaldo gave an explosive interview to Piers Morgan’s show on TalkTV this week in which he criticised Manchester United and said he had no respect for the coach Erik ten Hag, who has not relied on him much this season.
The striker, 37, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, will not train on Wednesday because of the illness, which has started amid the controversy caused by his interview.
“He is suffering from gastroenteritis and will not train today for this reason,” Santos told a press conference in Lisbon.
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“He won’t be ready (to face Nigeria), he’s resting, as you know, gastritis takes a lot out of players.”
The coach said Ronaldo’s interview was not sanctioned by Portugal but did not need to be either, and that it had nothing to do with the national team.
Once recovered, Ronaldo is set to feature in his fifth and potentially final World Cup, with Portugal opening their campaign against Ghana on November 24, before games against Uruguay and South Korea.
The talismanic striker and his country have never won the competition but did triumph at Euro 2016 and won the Nations League in 2019.