NEW JERSEY (Sporting Alert) — Cristiano Ronaldo is fit to start for Portugal in tonight’s pre-World Cup tune-up against against the Ireland Republic at MetLife Stadium, here in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
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Ronaldo has been bothered by a number muscle injuries towards the end of the club campaign this season, which forced him to miss Portugal’s prior World Cup warmup games.
But after returning to full training this week, the Real Madrid forward has been ruled fit to start tonight and he is hoping to test his sharpness before the opening game against Germany.
Ronaldo will join Hugo Almeida and Varela in the attack for Portugal, with William, João Moutinho and Raul Meireles starting in the midfield.
Manchester United winger Nani, Miguel Veloso, Éder, Pepe, Bruno Alves and goalkeeper Beto are all on the bench for Portugal, which defeated Mexico 1-0 in the last friendly game over the weekend.
For the Republic of Ireland, forward Jon Walters has recovered from illness to start in the attack, but Shane Long and Shane Duffy are both on the bench.
Aiden McGeady, David Meyler, Jeff Hendrick and James McClean, as well as Richard Keogh and Stephen Ward all start.
Robbie Keane, Kevin Doyle and Simon Cox are also on the bench as well.
Ireland of Republic v Portugal
Rep of Ireland: Forde, Kelly, Keogh, Ward, Pearce, McGeady, Hendrick, Meyler, Hoolahan, McClean, Walters
Subs: Elliot, Long, Keane, Duffy, Pilkington, Green, Quinn, Cox, Doyle, Lawlor
Portugal: Rui Patricio, Ruben Amorim, Ricardo Costa, Luis Neto, Fabio Coentrao, William Carvalho, Meireles, Joao Moutinho, Varela, Almeida, Ronaldo
Subs: Eduardo, Bruno Alves, Pepe, Veloso, Vieirinha, Eder, Rafa, Nani, Andre Almeida, Joao Pereira, Postiga, Beto
Referee: Baldomero Toledo (USA)