"It's Portugal, not just Cristiano", said Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa after Wednesday's training in Kazan, Russia. Ironically, it happened after Fernando Santos' team overcame Ronaldo's injury-enforced loss early in the game to win without their best player. - Cristiano Ronaldo was the top scorer in this season's Champions League, finding the net 12 times, while only two players assisted more than Ronaldo (five, behind Neymar and Ousmane Dembele).
There is optimism in the Portuguese camp, as in young guns Bernardo Silva and Andre Silva, they have the flawless foil for the seemingly-ageless Cristiano Ronaldo.
Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC.
Cristiano Ronaldo will put speculation over his club future firmly to one side as he leads European champions Portugal into their Confederations Cup opener against Mexico in Kazan on Sunday. "I usually watch them at my house with my family and some of my soccer players", said Suarez, who also runs his own soccer club.
Every competition needs a star player, and this Confederations Cup is already benefiting from the reflected glow of Ronaldo's presence.
Hosts Russia are joined by Germany, who won the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Australia (Asia Confederation), Chile (South America), Mexico (North, Central America and Caribbean), New Zealand (Oceania Confederation), Portugal (European Champions) and Cameroon (Africa). He is cool and calm when he has chances in front of goal.
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While Bernardo Silva is an exciting attacking midfielder capable of playing anywhere across the forward line, Andre Silva is an out-and-out goalscorer and both have plenty of upside, considering they are just 21. "But football is a team sport and I think that we have a great squad to confront him".
The duo scored goals in the same match three other times - World Cup qualifiers against Hungary, Andorra and the Faroe Islands.
Portugal and Chile go into the Confederations Cup with full-strength squads and ambitions to win another major title after continental glory. It was only Silva's third match.
Over the next two weeks, eight teams will compete for worldwide bragging rights and an opportunity to qualify for next year's World Cup. El Tri won this tournament on home soil back in 1999 but conditions could prove unfavourable conditions in Russian Federation.
At long last, there are genuine talents from the Iberian nation and Ronaldo will feel a little less like Atlas, which will in turn allow him to play with more freedom. "It's a very united group and I'm very happy to have gotten along with everyone from the start". "He's even an idol for us, the players".
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