Portugal hoping Ronaldo can continue his good form in Russia

KAZAN – Portugal arrived in Russian Federation on Wednesday night, with just short of 100 fans turning up outside the team hotel to welcome the team and, in particular, Cristiano Ronaldo.Cedric Soares and Pepe, who had been practicing separately because they were not fully fit, joined the rest of Portugal’s group in Thursday’s session at Rubin Kazan’s training grounds.The FIFA Confederations Cup is soccer’s ultimate warm-up act. Portugal will play Mexico in the Confederations Cup, Group A soccer match scheduled for Sunda.(AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis). Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo plays with the ball during a training session at Kazan Arena in Kazan, Russia, on Saturday, June 17, 2017.Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa has warned against overly focusing on Cristiano Ronaldo when El Tri kicks off its Confederations Cup campaign on Sunday against Portugal in Kazan.The Portuguese sports daily A Bola published a front-page story Friday saying that Ronaldo was upset with the accusations made against him and that his decision to leave Madrid was “irreversible”.Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.Ronaldo has not spoken to the media in Kazan and his staff said it would not comment about the recent issues involving the player. The player did not talk to reporters in Kazan.After the report, worldwide media filled Portugal’s training session in Kazan, where Ronaldo trained normally with the rest of the squad. They might lack popularity in the wider soccer world, but the Confederations Cup will treat fans to top-level competition when the likes of Portugal, Mexico, Germany and Chile play in the ensuing days.Cristiano Ronaldo is concentrating only on the Confederations Cup, his Portugal team-mate Andre Silva has said on Friday.”He takes this tournament very seriously and is focussed”.Ronaldo has denied any wrongdoing.Portugal defender Bruno Alves struggled to outline what Cristiano Ronaldo means to his nation, but the respect his teammates have is clear.Last year, Ronaldo extended his contract with Madrid until June 2021, saying he wanted to end his career at the club.Ronaldo past year extended his contract with the Spanish team until June 21, saying he wanted to end his career at the club.Ronaldo has scored 18 goals in his last 11 matches, including two in Portugal’s 3-0 win at Latvia in a European World Cup qualifier last week, the team’s last match before the Confederations Cup opener against Mexico.