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Cristiano Ronaldo

'Ronaldo's main goal is the World Cup' - Juventus star's future speculation must 'stay away' from Portugal squad, says Santos

09:58 GMT 17/03/2021
Cristiano Ronaldo Juventus 2020-21
The man who coaches the five-time Ballon d'Or winner at international level doesn't want his club situation to become a distraction

Fernando Santos has insisted that speculation over Cristiano Ronaldo's future must stay away from the Portugal squad, while claiming that the Juventus superstar's main goal is to win the World Cup.

Juve's early exit from the Champions League has sparked talk that Ronaldo could leave the club this summer, which is also when Portugal are due to appear in the European Championship.

Santos doesn't want to see the 36-year-old's situation at the Allianz Stadium get in the way of his lofty ambitions at international level, which include lifting the 2022 World Cup in Qatar next year.

What's been said?

"[Cristiano] has a big dream, that one I know," the Portugal boss told a press conference ahead of this month's first set of World Cup qualifiers.

"He has this big dream of participating in what we are setting out to do, that is the goal of playing in a World Cup and winning it.

"That is the main goal, the rest has to stay away from the national team."

Who has Ronaldo been linked with?

With Juve now being tipped to cash in Ronaldo at the end of the season, several high-profile destinations have been mooted for a man revered as one of the best footballers of his generation.

Real Madrid are reportedly interested in bringing their all-time record scorer back to Santiago Bernabeu, with head coach Zinedine Zidane fuelling those rumours earlier this week by admitting they "could be true".

A retracing of steps to Manchester United has also been suggested for Ronaldo, who left Old Trafford with his status as a club legend cemented in 2009 after inspiring their run to three successive Premier League titles and one Champions League.

Paris Saint-Germain are also being credited with an interest in the veteran striker's services amid suggestions he could link up with Lionel Messi at Parc des Princes, with his Argentine rival being tipped to leave Barcelona at the end of June.

Ronaldo's record for Portugal

Ronaldo is also the highest-scoring player in his country's history, having netted 102 goals in 170 appearances during his 18-year international career.

The forward's first appearance at a major tournament saw him inspire Portugal to the Euro 2004 final, and he helped them reach the semi-finals in 2012 before playing a key role in their run to glory four years later.

The furthest Ronaldo has ever been in the World Cup is the semi-final stage in 2010, but he also grabbed a UEFA Nations League winners' medal under Santos in 2019.

How has Ronaldo performed for Juve this season?

Despite the fact Juve have struggled in Europe while also falling behind the Serie A title race, Ronaldo has been as prolific as ever under Andrea Pirlo in 2020-21.

The frontman has scored 30 goals in 33 games in all competitions so far, including a trademark hat-trick against Cagliari last weekend.

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