Thursday June 5th, 2014

Cristiano Ronaldo won't play against Mexico on Friday in Portugal's final friendly before departing for the World Cup.

The match is slated for 8:30 p.m. ET at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., and Portugal won't be risking central defender Pepe or midfielder Raul Meireles either, according to a statement put out Thursday by the Portuguese federation

Ronaldo is said to be nursing knee tendinitis and a thigh injury in his left leg. His fitness is crucial to Portugal's chances at the World Cup, with the nation -- ranked fourth in the world in the most recent FIFA ranking -- up against Germany, Ghana and the United States in the tournament's Group of Death. The reigning FIFA Ballon d'Or winner, fresh off helping Real Madrid to a Champions League title, hopes to be available for June 16, when Portugal plays Germany in a vital World Cup encounter in Salvador, Brazil. 

Portugal then faces the USA in Manaus on June 22 before concluding group play against Ghana on June 26 in Brasilia.

 

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