Tue. May 17th, 2022

Cristiano Ronaldo is currently with Portugal's national team

Cristiano Ronaldo is currently with Portugal’s national team (NurPhoto / PA)

Portugal head coach Fernando Santos insists Cristiano Ronaldo needs playing time after he was dropped by Ole Gunnar Solskjær for Manchester United’s draw against Everton last weekend.

Ronaldo surprisingly started on the bench at Old Trafford, but came on in the second half as the match ended 1-1.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær was criticized for the decision, while former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson was taken to tell former UFC fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov that he felt the call to drop Ronaldo gave Everton a boost.

Ronaldo has joined the Portuguese squad this week as they prepare to play Qatar in a friendly on Saturday before their World Cup qualifier against Luxembourg next Tuesday.

The 36-year-old is now chasing the record for being the most limited player internationally. The United forward currently has 180 caps for Portugal and closes Soh Chin Ann’s official total of 195 for Malaysia.

But Santos has rejected the suggestion that Ronaldo should be played against Qatar to help him pursue the record and insists that the striker need be used minutes after he was rested by Solskjær.

‘Thinking about the game against Qatar is not about records, he will always break that record. He’s not worried about that, Santos said Friday.

Cristiano Ronaldo started on the bench in Manchester United’s draw with Everton last weekend (PA)

‘He wants to go to the game because he needs playing time. It’s important to him at this point.

‘The last full match he played was in Champions League.

‘If he only plays against Luxembourg, he has practically 15 days without playing with intensity.

‘At this point I would say that there are strong chances that Ronaldo will go to the match against Qatar, either starting or coming later in the second half, so the competitive pace is maximum against Luxembourg.’

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