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Portugal manager Roberto Martinez delivers Cristiano Ronaldo fitness update ahead of their final Euro 2024 warm-up clash – after talisman was an unused substitute during Croatia loss

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  • Cristiano Ronaldo did not feature in Portugal’s 2-1 defeat by Croatia on Saturday
  • This will be a record sixth time the Al-Nassr forward has played at the Euros 
  • Click here to follow Mail Sport’s Euro 2024 WhatsApp Channel for all the latest breaking news and updates from Germany

Portugal head coach Roberto Martinez has delivered a fitness update on star forward Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of his side’s Euro 2024 campaign.

The 2016 champions take on Ireland in their final warm-up match on Tuesday and Ronaldo, 39, will be hoping to avenge the heartache of their quarter-final defeat by Morocco at the 2022 World Cup.

Despite concerns arising that Ronaldo could have retired from international duty after the tournament in Qatar, the former Man United and Real Madrid superstar affirmed that he would never turn his back on his national side and has continued to play for Portugal – helping them go undefeated during their qualifying campaign.

In recent days, some have questioned whether Ronaldo should be included in Portugal’s opening group games in Germany this summer – with Arsenal legend Paul Merson stating that he would bench the five-time Champions League winner for the group stages.

But it appears Martinez is keen to use the forward as much as possible, with the ex-Everton manager stating that he intends to give Ronaldo and his team-mate Pepe, 41, a run out on Tuesday night, despite the Al-Nassr forward being an unused substitute during his side’s 2-1 defeat by Croatia on Saturday.

Cristiano Ronaldo (pictured) is set to play in his sixth European Championship this summer

Roberto Martinez (pictured) has provided a fitness update on the Portuguese superstar

Roberto Martinez (pictured) has provided a fitness update on the Portuguese superstar

Ronaldo (right) was an unused substituted during Portugal's defeat by Croatia on Saturday

Ronaldo (right) was an unused substituted during Portugal’s defeat by Croatia on Saturday 

‘Tomorrow we have Rúben [Dias], Pepe and Cristiano. It’s a perfect game to give minutes to the starters, but they will have minutes,’ the Portugal boss said during a press conference on Monday.

Ronaldo has also been in fine form for his club side this season, scoring 44 goals in 45 appearances in all competitions for Al-Nassr and Martinez emphasised his experience and leadership qualities are integral to this team.

‘It is important for us to attack and defend with eleven. Cristiano has brutal experience. There is no other with this experience. He is a player who knows very well how to use space in the area and is a special finisher, a special player.

‘Cristiano’s focus, reaction to loss and defensive positions were perfect during the games we played, the last eleven games. So for me, there are no doubts, there are no worries.’

Ronaldo’s longevity is why he is revered as one of the greatest footballers of this generation. 

He is also international football’s all-time leading goalscorer with 128 goals and will be looking to add to that tally in Germany this summer.

While Martinez was not able to guarantee that Ronaldo would be prepared to both attack and defend during matches, he affirmed once again that he had no doubts over the 39-year-old’s ability to stay fit and ready to play throughout the tournament.

Martinez confirmed that Pepe (second from left) and Ronaldo (third from left) will feature against Ireland on Tuesday

Martinez confirmed that Pepe (second from left) and Ronaldo (third from left) will feature against Ireland on Tuesday

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner has been in excellent form this season scoring 44 goals in 45 appearances for Al-Nassr in all competitions

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has been in excellent form this season scoring 44 goals in 45 appearances for Al-Nassr in all competitions 

Ronaldo will be hoping to avenge the woes of Portugal's 2022 World Cup exit this summer

Ronaldo will be hoping to avenge the woes of Portugal’s 2022 World Cup exit this summer

‘What happens with European and world tournaments that we need to evaluate every day, all games have different incidences,’ Martinez said.

‘Cris [Ronaldo] had 51 games last season and had no problems playing all the games, he played many competitions, but the dates to club level are not the same as at the national team level. I think there is no problem, but we evaluate this in real-time and during the tournament.’

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