Nuno Gomes insists that Portugal could cope without superstar striker Cristiano Ronaldo in this summer's World Cup.
The Real Madrid ace is a major injury doubt for the Seleccao's tournament opener against Germany on June 16 as he continues to battle both tendinitis and a persistent thigh problem.
Gomes freely admits that the loss of Ronaldo would be a hammer blow for Portugal, he says the club has several players of capable of stepping up to the mark in the absence of their talismanic attacker.
“We will be stronger with the presence of Cristiano in the team," the former Seleccao striker told Goal. "I hope he can recover quickly for the opening match, and can perform with good conditions for the team. But we have a good team, there are Nani and several other strikers. We also have Joao Moutinho.
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“However, with Cristiano of course we are stronger. I hope they can perform well to bring Portugal to advance further in World Cup.”
Gomes was part of the Portugal side managed by Luiz Felipe Scolari which suffered heartbreak in the 2004 European Championship final when it lost to Greece on home soil.
However, the 37-year-old believes the current Brazil boss is capable of leading the home side to glory this summer.
“I do not know [who will win], but I think Brazil, they are the hosts and they have a very good team,” Gomes mused. “Scolari is also the right person to bring the team to perform well in front of their own supporters.
"I consider Brazil because they are they host, as well as Spain, because they are the defending champions."
However, Gomes says Portugal should not be discounted, while at the same time acknowledging that the team will require a slice of good fortune to emerge from a tricky group.
“They need a little bit of luck," he stated. "However, football indeed needs luck. If we have it, I think Portugal can become a champion. It is difficult to predict our chances. We are in a group that is not easy, there are Germany, United States, and also Ghana.
“Maybe this time Portugal are favorites with Germany. If we get past the group stage then we can go further. The important thing now is to focus in each game."