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Portugal must focus on World Cup, not Ronaldo: Dias

Portugal defender Ruben Dias said Tuesday it was time to focus on the World Cup and move on from the media circus surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo’s explosive interview.

The Manchester City centre-back said despite the distraction, Ronaldo’s comments had not dented the nation’s bid to win the competition for the first time in their history.

Ronaldo, who has been a peripheral figure for Manchester United this season, last week lashed out at the club and coach Erik ten Hag in an interview with Britain’s TalkTV.

In the aftermath he appeared to share a frosty greeting with Portugal and United teammate Bruno Fernandes and was also pictured gripping Joao Cancelo by the head.

But Dias said it was time to move on.

“I don’t think Cristiano’s affairs have put a dent whatsoever into what we are trying to achieve here, so I don’t have much to say about it,” Dias said.

“I think we’ve talked about this enough, there’s not much to add. As a team we will focus on the World Cup now and not other issues.”

Ronaldo, who has a world-record 117 international goals in men’s football, will captain the team at his fifth World Cup.

The superstar forward is unrepentant about his interview, which has caused such a furore, telling reporters: “I talk when I want to.”

Euro 2016 winners Portugal are among the fancied sides in Qatar but Dias refused to speculate on how far they could go.

The defender preferred to focus on Portugal’s first opponents, Ghana, whom they face on Thursday before playing Uruguay and South Korea.

“We’re focused on winning against Ghana,” said Dias. “The best way to win is focus on one game at a time and that’s the best way to have a successful path ahead of us.

“Ghana are physically a strong team, technically as well. They have footballers who are playing at the top level in Europe.

“We are aware we are facing a very dangerous team. We’re focused on what we are doing, but aware of the difficulties that Ghana will bring. They are strong in transition when they recover the ball.”

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