Ronaldo starts in Portugal's World Cup opener after Man Utd departure

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Cristiano Ronaldo was named in Portugal's starting XI for their World Cup opener against Ghana at Stadium 974 in Doha.

After his inflammatory interview with Piers Morgan, Ronaldo left Manchester United by mutual agreement on Tuesday.

That means the 37-year-old is a free agent, and if he needs to remind anyone of his qualities ahead of the January transfer window, he has the chance to do so in Qatar.

Fernando Santos saw no issue in bringing Ronaldo into his team for Portugal's first Group H game on Thursday, with the striker spearheading an attack that also included Porto winger Otavio and Atletico Madrid's Joao Felix.

Ronaldo is aiming to become the first player to score at five different World Cups.

In an attacking-looking XI, Ruben Neves took up a holding midfield role, behind Bernardo Silva and Ronaldo's now ex-United club-mate, Bruno Fernandes.

Veteran campaigner Pepe was left on the bench, with Danilo preferred as Ruben Dias' partner, while Joao Cancelo and Raphael Guerreiro completed the defence ahead of goalkeeper Diogo Costa.

Having switched allegiance from Spain, Inaki Williams led the line for Ghana, with Arsenal's Thomas Partey anchoring a four-man midfield that also included Andre Ayew and Mohammed Kudus, who has impressed for Ajax this season and has this week compared himself to Brazil star Neymar.

Ghana captain Ayew will have appeared in more World Cup matches (eight) than any current player for African nations once the game kicks off.