Cristiano Ronaldo has been selected for Portugal’s upcoming fixtures, the first under new manager Roberto Martinez.
Although Ronaldo is by far and away the greatest ever player in his nation’s history, he is now 38 years of age and was not an automatic pick at the recent World Cup.
In three starts and two substitute outings in Qatar, Ronaldo netted just once, his 118th goal for his country coming from the penalty spot.
With Martinez being appointed to replace the long-serving Fernando Santos, Ronaldo’s international future has faced a period of uncertainty.
That had particularly been the case with the veteran having made the switch to Saudi Arabia to represent Al-Nassr, ending his stint at the highest level on the club scene.
Nevertheless, Martinez has opted to pick the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star in his squad for the fixtures against Liechtenstein and Luxembourg.
The former Belgian boss was inevitably quizzed on that selection at a press conference, telling the media that Ronaldo remains a key part of the group.
Martinez told reporters: “Cristiano Ronaldo is a very committed player. He can bring experience and is a very important figure for the team. I don’t look at age.”
Ronaldo has warmed up for his return to Europe by scoring eight goals and providing two assists in nine appearances for Al-Nassr.
Having failed to start either of Portugal’s knockout fixtures at the World Cup, his inclusion in the starting lineup is far from a certainty.
Ronaldo faces competition from Benfica’s Goncalo Ramos, Chelsea’s Joao Felix, AC Milan’s Rafael Leao and Liverpool’s Diogo Jota.
There have been few surprises with the remainder of the squad, with Jose Sa, Diogo Leite and Goncalo Inacio the only uncapped players.