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The powerful defender has voiced his admiration for his Madrid team-mate, and believes that Portugal deserved better than a 1-0 loss against Russia

Pepe has taken the time to praise Real Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of his 100th international appearance for Portugal against Northern Ireland on Tuesday.

The prolific attacker was unable to help the Seleccao to a good result in Friday's World Cup qualifier away against Russia as they were beaten 1-0, but the defender has nothing but positive words for the 27-year-old.

"Cristiano is a point of reference within Portuguese football. He is an idol for a lot of people and a perfect professional," Pepe stated to RTP.

"I hope that he will make many more appearances for Portugal. The way he plays for Real Madrid and for the Seleccao, he is the best in the world, both as a player and as a human being."

The centre-back then looked back at Portugal's loss versus Russia, and stressed that they deserved better.

"Portugal were the better team and got plenty of chances to score. Russia were fortunate and scored early in the game.

"Everything is still open in our group, though. We have to continue to work hard to achieve our goal."

Portugal sit second in Group F at the moment with six points from three games.

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