Soccer-Ronaldo says Portugal not worried about more positive COVID-19 cases

·2-min read
Euro 2020 - Portugal Training

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Cristiano Ronaldo said Portugal are not concerned about losing more players through COVID-19 infections even after Joao Cancelo was forced to leave the camp before their Euro 2020 campaign had begun, emphasising his side were 'tired' of the pandemic.

Right back Cancelo had an excellent season with Manchester City and was one of Portugal's best players in their 4-0 friendly win over Israel last week but following a positive coronavirus test, he was replaced in the squad by Diogo Dalot.

"I don't think it's a key factor. It's a shame Joao tested positive but everyone in our team is at peace, we don't talk about COVID-19 because were all tired of this," Ronaldo told a news conference ahead of his side's first game against Hungary on Tuesday.

"We know how to live with it and deal with it, it's a sad situation but we're all focused. For many players this is their first Euros and nothing will shake us. We respect all the rules but we're just focused on playing, we're not thinking about anything else at all."

Ronaldo is about to play his ninth major tournament with Portugal, who are the defending European champions, and said he was as relaxed as ever, even though his club future remains unclear following reports he could leave Juventus before the start of next season.

"I've been playing at the highest level for many years so this doesn't phase me at all, if I were 18 or 19 maybe I'd have some sleepless nights but I'm 36 years old and whatever comes next will be for the best, whether that's staying at Juve or getting a transfer," he said.

"The crucial thing now is the Euros. It's my fifth Euros but for me it's like my first so I want to start on the right foot, we want to play a good match and have only good thoughts in our first match to our last."

Ronaldo heads into the Euros on 104 international goals, just five from matching former Iran striker Ali Daei as the top international scorer of all-time, but he said he would much rather help his country retain the trophy.

"It's a nice record but I'm not thinking about it too much, winning the competition for a second consecutive time is a more beautiful objective," he said.

"It's obviously not the same team as in 2016, this is a much younger side with an enormous potential. But how we do in the competition will tell us which team is better."

(Reporting by Richard Martin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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