With the pressure on the former Real Madrid talisman at Juventus, is this the reason for the snub at the international level? The forward would not skipper Portugal when they meet Croatia and he would not be available for the very important game against Italy in the UEFA Nations League.
The game set for Thursday, September 6, 2018 at Estadio Algarve is a good one for the team post World Cup. Ronaldo netted four times in four games but it was still an underwhelming performance from the rest of the squad in Russia.
It is likely that Ronaldo would reduce his international commitment as he might not be as fit enough for club and international football. The five times Ballon d’Or winner recently missed the UEFA Player awards which went to Luka Modric. After four games he is yet to score in the Serie A, and the Champions League is warming up. It is quite understandable if the player wants to sit the games out but it would be a hug blow for the average Portuguese side.
In Portugal there have been calls in some quarters for a new vibrant manager with experience working with youth to take over the reins from Santos. The squad needs a rebirth as the current crop overachieved at the Euro 2016. The team needs reworking, rebuilding, new faces, fresh legs ahead of the Euro 2020 qualifiers, the tournament proper and then preparations for the next World Cup.