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Dec 5, 2013

Ronaldo eyes Portugal surprise

Cristiano Ronaldo says going into next summer’s World Cup without high expectations could be a positive for Portugal, in comments made while he was at home preparing for the opening of his personal museum in Madeira.

Portugal almost missed out on Brazil 2014, finishing behind Russia in their qualifying group, before Ronaldo ensured a place at the finals with a sensational hat trick in November’s play-off second leg in Sweden.

The Selecao captain told Portuguese broadcaster SIC that he was expecting a challenging competition, but coming in under the radar might suit Portugal.

“Without Portugal the World Cup would not have been the same,” Ronaldo said. “We are not contenders for the title, maybe this way we can take some of the pressure off. We have to be aware that this will be a really difficult World Cup, in a very nice country which is our friend.”

The attacker was at home on Madeira, having been given a few days’ holidays by Real Madrid as he is suspended for Saturday’s Copa del Rey game at minnows Olimpic de Xativa.

He took advantage of the break to spend time with family including his mother and son Cristiano Ronaldo Jr, and also to check on the work at the ‘Cristiano Ronaldo museum’, which is scheduled to open in the island’s capital Funchal on Dec. 15.

The museum’s exhibits are reported to include personal trophies won during his years at Manchester United and Madrid, as well as footballs, photographs and jerseys detailing his career progress from youth side Andorinha on Madeira through Sporting Lisbon’s youth set-up, and on to Old Trafford aged just 18 and then the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in 2009.

Ronaldo said things were good for him at the moment. “I am living a good stage in my life at the moment,” he reflected. “The last few years I have been playing at a very good level.”

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