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Real Madrid winger will captain his country in South Africa

Carlos Queiroz believes that Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is capable of leading Portugal to World Cup glory in South Africa.

Despite struggling through World Cup qualifying, requiring a play-off win against Bosnia and Herzegovina to make it into the tournament, Portugal is currently third in the FIFA rankings.

With the ­£80million winger leading the squad in South Africa, Queiroz believes that Portugal can validate their high ranking.

The Portugal manager thinks that Ronaldo, who is now the captain of his country’s side, can be the star of the World Cup and fire his side to a world championship.

“Cristiano is a champion and, as a player, is Superman, Queiroz told the Daily Star.

“In terms of his mental approach to the game, he is so strong and so confident.

“It has always been this way since I first ­started working with him as an 18-year-old. He has a champion mind.

“He is someone who has always been able to perform above the demands of the game.

“It is fantastic to work with a really special player in our squad, who has shown the world that he is a winner even before the tournament begins.

“And this also makes it easy to ensure his ­spirit and attitude rubs off on the rest of the Portugal players.”

With Brazil, Ivory Coast and North Korea rounding up Group G, Queiroz insists that Portugal will have to play well to progress to the knockout stages.

Portugal will kick off their World Cup with a critical clash against Ivory Coast, who could be without their talisman Didier Drogba, on June 15 in Port Elizabeth.

However, should his team advance from the ‘Group of Death’, Queiroz is confident that 2006 semi-finalists could win the World Cup for the first time in their history.

“I am sure Ivory Coast will be fearing Portugal.

“As a national team and in a one-against-one situation, Portugal can beat any side at this World Cup.

“So our approach is to play the first game, then the second and so on. Firstly, we have to get through to the second round.

“Then our aim will be to run and run on the outside – and to be in a ­position where we have the opportunity to compete with the very best in the world.”

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