Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has been included in Portugal's squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup playoffs. The country's hopes will be on their captain and record international goalscorer to lead them into the World Cup finals in Qatar later this year.
Ronaldo, who recently became the most prolific scorer in men's international football, has scored an impressive 115 goals in 184 games. He will look to provide the goals A Selecao need to overcome Turkey in their upcoming playoff semi-final.
Ronaldo will have two familiar faces with him during the playoffs, with Manchester United teammates Bruno Fernandes and Diogo Dalot also making the squad.
Ronaldo and United have not enjoyed the best of seasons so far, despite the former's goals - 18 across competitions. However, the Portugal team would offer the three United players a chance to redeem their campaigns.
Against Turkey on March 24, Ronaldo's team are expected to win. The Portuguese will hope to avoid any hiccups and seal their place at the quadrennial tournament this winter.
The winner of Portugal-Turkey will face either Italy or North Macedonia in the playoff final. Italy will be the favourites against North Macedonia, which could potentially lead to an Italy-Portugal showdown for a place in Qatar.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal cannot squander second chance to reach Qatar
A Selecao coach Fernando Santos strongly believes his team can go through to Qatar if they can keep their cool and see off their obstacles.
While they should have a comfortable outing against Turkey, they could face a far tougher test against reigning European champions Italy. If the Portuguese lose any of the two games, it will mark the first time they will miss the World Cup since 1998.
The pressure will certainly be high on Santos' men, especially in the decider five days after the Turkey game. The coach will hope that the more experienced heads, like Cristiano Ronaldo, inspire the team through and calm the team's nerves.
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