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Half Mag / Half Zine

Bernardo Silva has insisted that Cristiano Ronaldo’s acrimonious falling out with Manchester United is not a distraction for Portugal and described the mood in the camp as “top, top, top” before their World Cup campaign.

The Manchester City midfielder was speaking before Portugal’s opening training session at the Al Shahaniya Sports Club near Doha, with Ronaldo being the captain of Fernando Santos’s team.

United are considering legal action against Ronaldo following an interview in which he made a series of allegations about the club. Yet Silva denied Ronaldo’s situation is a distraction and was asked if he and other squad members have offered support to the 37-year-old.

Silva said: “Top, top, top. The news that comes from England has nothing to do with the national team so I won’t say anything. It doesn’t concern me, it concerns Cristiano. I don’t have to comment. It’s a matter for Cristiano, I’m not a Manchester United player and even if I was I would not answer that because we’re in the national team so I’m not going to talk about it.”

Silva was asked if there is any friction between Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes’s, who is also in the Portugal squad and a United teammate, given the divisive nature of the centre-forward’s claims.

“I don’t see any strange atmosphere in our national team between Cristiano or Bruno,” Silva added. “Once again I say that it’s his issue, I don’t even play for this club. An issue that has to be resolved with the right person. It’s a situation with the club. I see him motivated and focused on the national team like all of us. It’s one more thing to help our country, it’s an individual matter. You only talk about it in press conferences when Portugal has a World Cup to play. I don’t understand your persistence on this subject, because there is nothing.”

Portugal’s opening match of Qatar 2022 is against Ghana on Thursday. Silva was asked if the team play any different when Ronaldo is not in the XI.

“It has to do with the fact that it is a different generation, different players. In the last eight years, almost all the players have changed, apart from two or three. It is a very strong generation, almost all of them play in the best leagues, in the best clubs. When Cristiano is not there, the national team has known how to respond, we are 26 [players] – it doesn’t matter if there’s one or the other [in the team], we’re going to do our best to represent our country,” he said.