Ronaldo dodges booking issue

The winger will miss his nation's final World Cup qualifier after picking up a caution on Friday night.

Cristiano Ronaldo has refused to reveal whether or not he got himself deliberately booked in Portugal's 1-1 draw with Israel in a bid to ensure his availability for the Seleccao's impending World Cup playoff.

The result, coupled with Russia's 4-0 win over Luxembourg, means Portugal is all but certain to miss out on automatic qualification from Group F of the European section.

Paulo Bento's side sits three points adrift of Fabio Capello's men with an inferior goal difference going into the final qualifiers and is likely to feature in the playoffs.

Ronaldo was booked late on in the game in Lisbon for dissent, leading to speculation that he may have picked up a yellow card on purpose so he could miss his country's final group qualifier against Luxembourg on Tuesday.

However, the Real Madrid star has denied that he deliberately earned a caution so he could take a clean disciplinary record into the playoffs.

"FIFA is always very attentive to those situations," said the 28-year-old. "The playoff is the most important and I don't want to be out. I will be at those two matches."

When asked about potential opponents in the playoffs, Ronaldo highlighted France - which looks set to finish second behind Spain in Group I - as the main threat.

"France are the strongest we may face," he continued. "They are the only ones I do not want to face."

Follow GOAL.COM on