Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo has been granted an early release from the Portugal squad, meaning he has time to rest before a second Manchester United debut.
Portugal captain Ronaldo made history on Wednesday when he became the all-time leading goalscorer in men’s international football, with the first of his double in a World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland taking him clear of Iran great Ali Daei’s haul of 109 goals.
The 36-year-old’s milestone effort was an 89th-minute header and he followed it up with a dramatic winner deep into stoppage time, removing his shirt as he celebrated completing a turnaround 2-1 success.
Ronaldo was consequently shown a yellow card that ruled him out of Tuesday’s trip to Azerbaijan through suspension.
With a friendly against Qatar on Saturday being Portugal’s only other fixture during the international break, he was allowed to leave the camp early.
“Cristiano Ronaldo was released from the national team camp this Thursday,” read a statement from the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF).
“The yellow card received against Ireland, being his second in this stage of qualification, made him suspended for one official game, which will come against Azerbaijan.
“This morning, the Portugal captain was part of the group of players who carried out recovery work at the hotel.
“Fernando Santos also directed a training session in the morning on a pitch next to the hotel used by the national team during their stay in the Algarve.”
Ronaldo completed a return to United from Juventus this week and could be in line to make his first appearance for the Red Devils in 12 years at home against Newcastle United on September 11.