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Portugal, Cristiano Ronaldo welcomed in Russian Federation ahead of Confed Cup

18 Juin 2017

With Ronaldo looking at the peak of his game, Portugal trained for the first time in Russian Federation on Thursday ahead of its Confederations Cup debut against Mexico on Sunday.

Portugal's head coach Fernando Santos believes Portugal are determined to win the Confederations Cup to prove they're the best in the world.

Germany is the top-ranked team in the eight-nation Confederations Cup, at No. 3, but it came to Russian Federation with a second-string squad that has only three players from the team that won the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

The European and South American champions are the favourites to reach the final on July 2 in St Petersburg given that world champions Germany are in Russian Federation with many untested players.

Host Russia, ranked 63rd in the world, opens Group A play on Saturday against New Zealand in St. Petersburg.

It will be European champion Portugal, with Cristiano Ronaldo in top form, taking on Gold Cup victor Mexico in a game that is likely to decide the group victor.

Russian Federation and New Zealand are in Group A with Portugal and Mexico, who meet on Sunday in Kazan, while Group B features Cameroon, Chile, Germany and Australia. "He is taking this competition very seriously and is fully focused on training and on the match against Mexico".

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With several teams interested in his signature in China, there is always the option he could move to the Far East. Ronaldo has scored 285 goals in 241 league appearances since leaving Manchester for the Spanish capital in 2009.

Ronaldo was peaking when he ended his season with Real Madrid, and now is looking to continue his good form with the national team in Russian Federation.

Before the Champions League final two weeks ago, when Madrid won its second consecutive title with two goals by Ronaldo, the star forward said that he was never jeered while playing for Manchester United, and that he missed his time in England even though he loved living in Madrid and playing for Real Madrid.

Ronaldo's recent performances have left him in a strong position to catch up with Lionel Messi with a fifth world player of the year award.

Cristiano Ronaldo, who has scored 16 goals in his last 10 matches for club and country, will undoubtedly play a pivotal role if the Portuguese are to be successful this summer and bet365 make the European side their 21/20 (2.05) favourites to kick off the campaign with a win against El Tri.

Portugal has won six of its last seven games, with the only setback coming in a 3-2 loss against Sweden in a friendly in March.

Group B action begins Sunday when Cameroon play Chile in Moscow, while Germany meet Australia in Sochi on Monday. Portugal won 1-0 in a friendly in 2014.

Portugal doesn't have any player on its squad playing for Mexican clubs.