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Cristiano Ronaldo will play for Portugal tonight after being praised by Martinez

Cristiano Ronaldo will play for Portugal in tonight’s Euro 2024 warm-up against the Republic of Ireland with coach Roberto Martinez hailing the veteran striker as a “special player”.

Ronaldo was an unused substitute in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat by Croatia and has not played for his country since their 2-0 loss to Slovenia in March.

But with the final starting on Friday – and Portugal’s first game coming up on June 18 against the Czech Republic – he will get some minutes against Ireland in Aveiro.

Asked if the 39-year-old is confident he still has the legs to play Martinez’s style at the highest level, the former Belgium coach said: “He is important for us, we attack and defend with 11 players and Cristiano has a lot of experience. No player has played in five Euros, now the sixth.

“He is a player who knows how to use space in the area and he is a finisher, a special player.

“Cristiano’s defenses were perfect in the games we played. So, for me, there is no doubt, no concern. “

Ruben Neves and Pepe will also be seen playing with the Irish side under the interim management of Ronaldo’s former Manchester United team-mate John O’Shea.

“The important thing is that we have Ruben, Pepe and Cristiano and it is a perfect game to give them minutes as part of the preparation time,” added Martinez.

“What happens in European competitions and the World Cup is that you have to check every day as every game has different incidents.

“Cristiano played 51 games last season and he has no problem playing all of them. But the games at the club level are not the same as the national team.

“I don’t think there is a problem but we will check it in real time during the tournament.”

How did the preparations go in Portugal?

Portugal’s preparations for the big game in Germany have been mixed with defeats against Slovenia and Croatia and wins over Sweden and Finland.

Martinez doesn’t care, but he’s looking for his players to show up tonight in front of a sellout crowd.

He said: “We are working very well.

“We need to see a different game [against Ireland]. The Aveiro stadium is sold out and it’s an opportunity to prepare the team but I’m happy with what the players have done in these days of preparation.”

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