Portugal did not miss out on Cristiano Ronaldo, as a Bruno Fernandes brace helped Fernando Santos’ side beat Nigeria 4-0.
Ronaldo, currently at the center of a media storm following his TalkTV interview, missed the match due to illness a week before Portugal’s World Cup group stage opener against Ghana.
Fernandes opened the scoring for a fresh Portugal in the ninth minute and doubled the lead from the penalty spot in the 35th minute.
Substitutes Joao Mario and Goncalo Ramos extended Portugal’s lead to four in the final ten minutes as they continued their preparation for next week’s World Cup opener.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the match, Fernandes insisted that he had not seen Ronaldo’s interview with Piers Morgan, and that his full attention was on Portugal and the World Cup.
“I didn’t read the interview, so I’m okay with that,” Fernandes said. “As I said before, now it’s the national team, it’s Portugal.
Bruno Fernandes says he has ‘no problem’ with Cristiano Ronaldo and explains the apparent ‘frosty’ reception he gave his teammate earlier in the week 🔊pic.twitter.com/J9AA9P6RjI
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) November 17, 2022
“I told him, the coach pointed out that it’s ‘us’, so he did it since I came to the national team in 2017, I think, and that is still clear in his mind.
“The main thing here is the national team and us, so we have to be focused on the World Cup because the World Cup doesn’t always come, you don’t have the opportunity to play a World Cup many times, Cristiano is lucky to play five times. , this will be their fifth time at the World Cup, so everyone is ready for it and everyone wants to give their best for the team.”
He went on to explain that he “had no problem” with his club teammate after a video surfaced of Fernandes apparently giving Ronaldo “the cold shoulder” when the pair met in the locker room.
“You have to [watch the video with the sound],” he said. “In Portugal we have a problem, I was watching one of the channels that talked about it, it was cold, it was bad, for 45 minutes.
“All of a sudden the selection sends with the sound, the sound says he’s joking with me, so they come back and say, there was a joke and they cut there.
“They said if you want to watch again, just go back, but if they go back they’ll see there’s a problem, but if [they’re] really true and they explain what was in that video, people will know, but now they don’t know.
“As I said, this is the national team, Manchester United will be my focus after the World Cup, after December 18, because that is the final.
“I have no problem with anyone,” he added.
Jose Sa, Joao Cancelo, Ruben Neves and Rafael Leao were unused substitutes, while Diego Dalot, Ruben Dias, Bernando Silva and Joao Felix starred alongside Fernandes.
Six other World Cup-bound teams were in action on Thursday night as they prepare for the tournament that begins on Sunday.
Spain beat Jordan 3-1 thanks to goals from Barcelona duo Ansu Fati and Gavi.
Nico Williams scored six minutes from time to complete the routine victory, before a consolation goal from Jordan in the 92nd minute.
Luis Enrique’s side begin their World Cup campaign on Wednesday when they take on Costa Rica in Group E, before taking on Germany four days later.
A World Cup clash between Switzerland and Ghana saw the latter come out on top.
Southampton defender Mohammed Salisu was on the scoreboard along with Antoine Semenyo, with Leicester City’s Daniel Amartey, Brighton’s Tariq Lamptey and Crystal Palace’s Jordan Ayew all in action for the African side.
Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka stepped in in the 90th minute for a disappointing Swiss side, who play their World Cup opener against Cameroon before taking on tournament favorites Brazil.
Ghana, grouped with Portugal, plays first with the European team.
Japan and Canada also met before both teams embarked on their World Cup journey, with the Canadians arriving late but winning 2-1 thanks to a Lucas Daniel Cavallini penalty in the 95th minute.
Morocco enjoyed a 3-0 drubbing of Georgia, with Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech on the scoreboard.