Portugal manager, Fernando Santos has debunked reports circulating in the media that he has been forced to start Cristiano Ronaldo in most matches.

The Man United star has been part of every Santos’ success story and is also available for the 2022 World Cup which is expected to be his last.

Speaking ahead of today’s international friendly game against the Super Eagles, Santos in a press conference said that Ronaldo has always merited his place with the national team.

There have been claims that Ronaldo is undroppable in Portugal’s national team because of his influence over the manager.

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Santos has guided the Portugal national team to European victory and the Europe Nations League and is looking forward to winning the World Cup in Qatar.

“Forced? This is not about forcing me.

“This is not a requirement. No one is forced to do anything here. The question could be, you could ask me, based on what Cristiano Ronaldo did [in recent weeks on the pitch] should he start?

“This is valid for Cristiano Ronaldo and all the players who are with the national team. If the head coach is forced to put a player in the XI… there aren’t those things here.”

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