Portugal coach Paulo Bento has left Cristiano Ronaldo out of the squad for their upcoming Euro 2016 qualifier, saying the national captain is not fit enough to compete, even though he has started the season featuring regularly for Real Madrid.
Ronaldo, 29, has been hampered by tendinosis in his left knee through recent months, also suffering related thigh muscle complaints. These issues severely restricted his contribution to the end of Madrid's 2013-14 campaign and contributed to his below-par showing in Portugal's three group games at the World Cup in Brazil.
After a truncated preseason, Ronaldo played 90 minutes in the European Supercup win over Sevilla, but then came off at half-time in Madrid's Spanish Supercopa first leg against Atletico Madrid. He subsequently played the second half of the Supercopa second leg at Atletico a few days later, and completed his club's La Liga opener against Cordoba last Monday, hammering in a 30-yard goal late on to seal a 2-0 win.
However, while announcing the squad for Portugal's game at home to Albania on Sept. 7, the national coach said the view of the Portugal FA's medical staff was that Ronaldo was not currently in the right condition to play for his country.
"[Ronaldo's] fitness, regardless of whether he has played regularly, does not allow him to compete according to our medical department," Bento said.
Winger Nani, on loan at Sporting Lisbon from Manchester United, has been named in the squad, as has reported United and Arsenal midfield target William Carvalho.
La Liga based youngsters Ruben Vezo and Andre Gomes (Valencia), Ivan Cavaleiro (Deportivo la Coruna) and Ricardo Horta (Malaga) have also been included.
Goalkeepers: Eduardo (Dinamo Zagreb), Rui Patricio (Sporting Lisbon), Anthony Lopes (Lyon)
Defenders: Joao Pereira & Ruben Vezo (Valencia), Andre Almeida (Benfica), Fabio Coentrao, Pepe (Real Madrid), Vitorino Antunes (Malaga), Ricardo Costa (Al-Sailiya), Luis Neto (Zenit)
Midfielders: William Carvalho, Adrien Silva (Sporting), Miguel Veloso (Dinamo Kiev), Raul Meireles (Fenerbahce), Joao Moutinho (Monaco), Andre Gomes (Valencia), Pedro Tiba (Braga)
Forwards: Nani (Sporting), Vieirinha (Wolfsburg), Bruma (Galatasaray), Eder (Braga), Ivan Cavaleiro (Deportivo la Coruna), Ricardo Horta (Malaga)