Ronaldo starts for Portugal against Ghana in his fifth World Cup

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Portugal supporters cheer ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group H football match between Portugal and Ghana at Stadium 974 in Doha on Thursday, AFP

Cristiano Ronaldo starts for Portugal in the opening match of what will likely be his fifth and final World Cup campaign, against Ghana on Thursday.

All-time men’s record international goalscorer Ronaldo lines up in his usual centre-forward position for the Group H clash, two days after he parted ways with Manchester United by mutual consent on Tuesday.

Ronaldo, 37, had spoken in a controversial interview last week, when he lashed out at Man United coach Erik ten Hag and the club itself, provoking his eventual departure.

The veteran striker will be supported by a stellar group of players led by Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva and Joao Felix.

Ghana are the lowest-ranked team at the World Cup and will be relying on Inaki Williams for goals.

The forward was capped once by Spain in a friendly in 2016 but changed nationality earlier this year and leads the line for the Black Stars.

Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey starts and Ghana’s hopes could hinge on his performance in midfield.

Portugal (4-5-1)

Diogo Costa; Joao Cancelo, Ruben Dias, Danilo Pereira, Raphael Guerreiro; Otavio, Ruben Neves, Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva, Joao Felix; Cristiano Ronaldo (capt)

Coach: Fernando Santos (POR)

Ghana (5-3-2)

Lawrence Ati Zigi; Alidu Seidu, Alexander Djiku, Daniel Amartey, Mohammed Salisu, Baba Rahman; Salis Abdul Samed, Thomas Partey, Mohammed Kudus; Andrew Ayew (capt), Inaki Williams

Coach: Otto Addo (GHA)

Referee: Ismail Elfath (USA)

Agence France-Presse

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