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Euro 2020: Portugal name Ronaldo ahead Ukraine clash


Cristiano Ronaldo is back in the Portugal squad after an eight-and-a-half-month absence.

Ronaldo has not, at his own request, played for the defending European champions since a 2-1 loss to Uruguay in the last 16 of the World Cup on June 30, 2018.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos’ side face a Euro 2020 Group B qualifier against Ukraine on March 22 before they play Serbia three days later, with both matches being staged at Lisbon’s Estadio da Luz.

Ronaldo moved to Juventus last summer from Real Madrid in a €100m transfer and has scored 24 goals in 34 appearances in all competitions, including a hat-trick in Wednesday’s 3-0 home triumph over Atletico Madrid in the Champions League

“Cristiano Ronaldo is the best player in the world and he is returning to the national team,” Santos said in Friday’s news conference.

“Any team would be stronger with Ronaldo. He already spoke this week about his absence from the national team [to adapt to his life in Turin and to new club Juventus]. The team will be stronger with Ronaldo

Portugal, without Ronaldo, won three and drew three of their six games since the World Cup. They finished top of their group to reach the UEFA Nations League finals, a tournament the country will host in June.

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