Ronaldo backed for 'phenomenal' World Cup by Neves

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Cristiano Ronaldo will be "phenomenal" at the World Cup as long as Portugal meet expectations as a collective, according to his team-mate Ruben Neves.

Ronaldo has been at the centre of a media storm over the past week after he took part in an astonishing interview with broadcaster Piers Morgan.

During the one-on-one, Ronaldo was largely scathing of Manchester United, criticising the board, young players and manager, Erik ten Hag.

United confirmed on Thursday they have dealt with the matter, though they did not disclose what punishment had been handed out to Ronaldo.

He was then reported as being ill when absent for Portugal's pre-World Cup friendly with Nigeria on Thursday, but he returned to training two days later.

Despite the hysteria surrounding the 37-year-old, Neves insists Portugal – and Ronaldo – are looking good ahead of their World Cup opener against Ghana on Thursday.

"From what I've seen in training, he's in great shape," Neves told reporters at Portugal's training base.

"[Ronaldo's interview] is not at all a subject that concerns us. We know perfectly well that our collective must work very well to highlight individuals.

"And With Cristiano it's no different. If we're good, we know that Cristiano is going to be phenomenal."

After Ronaldo joined up with the Portugal squad in the wake of his controversial interview, a video of him greeting his United colleague Bruno Fernandes was perceived to depict some hostility from the latter.

The clip turned out to be from a longer video published by the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF), with Fernandes adamant they were sharing a joke that had been misconstrued.

Neves supported this claim, dismissing the idea of controversy entering the dressing room.

"There is no controversy in the locker room," he continued. "It is impossible for us to discuss these controversies since they do not exist in the locker room.

"These are more controversies outside and on social media rather than in the locker room.

"Everything has been said. We are 100 per cent focused on the World Cup. We have a great atmosphere in the team, we are concentrating on that."