Ronaldo
Ronaldo

Despite his recent absence from the Portugal national team, coach Fernando Santos has insisted that Cristiano Ronaldo remains part of the squad.

Ronaldo, 33, last played for his nation at the World Cup in Russia, where they were eliminated by Uruguay in the round of 16.

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Portugal have managed to reach the Nations League Finals without him, becoming the first side to qualify after Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Italy in Milan.

But Santos said there should be no questions that the Juventus star is still an important part of his squad.

“There is no doubt. If you still have doubts, I don’t know,” he told a news conference.

“But Cristiano Ronaldo is part of this team.”

Ronaldo is Portugal’s all-time leader in both goals (85) and appearances (154), while only Iran’s Ali Daei (109) has netted more times in internationals.

Portugal are back in action on Tuesday against Poland, who are already relegated, to close the group stage of the Nations League.