As the international break approaches and many players head off from their club commitments to represent their country, Cristiano Ronaldo has opted out of Portugal’s upcoming matches in favour of building up his match fitness with Juventus in Turin.
Ronaldo, who has been pictured in training with a black eye following a blow to the face during Juventus’ recent 2-1 win over Parma, withdrew from the fold in a bid to improve his fitness following a testing summer period which saw his pre-season shortened, as reported by the Daily Mail.
Portugal face a tough pair of matches against Croatia and Italy during the international break but will have to make do without star man and captain Ronaldo for the clashes. Head coach Fernando Santos explained, via the Daily Mail: “After talking to the player, and after he moved to Juventus with all the processes of adaptation that entails, we understand it was best for him to not be present for these games.”
The European champions meet World Cup runners-up Croatia in a friendly match on Thursday, before facing Italy on Monday in Portugal’s opening match of their UEFA Nations League campaign.
Ronaldo will likely return to his international commitments for next month’s meeting with Scotland, though his absence will surely be felt during the upcoming pair of matches against high quality opposition.
With Juventus, meanwhile, Ronaldo has enjoyed the perfect start to the Serie A season, as the Italian champions have won each of their first three games and stormed to their customary position at the top of the league table. Ronaldo is, though, yet to score for the side that he joined in a blockbuster transfer from Real Madrid during the summer.