Why Cristiano Ronaldo is not playing for Portugal against Sweden tonight as icon given extra time off

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Cristiano Ronaldo will not be playing for Portugal against Sweden tonight. 

The Al Nassr superstar was named in manager Roberto Martinez’s 32-man preliminary squad for the international break. 

Ronaldo has not joined up with the Portugal squad yet

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Ronaldo has not joined up with the Portugal squad yetCredit: Getty

However, Martinez has reduced that pole of players to 24, with eight stars not included for the game against Sweden. 

Ronaldo was one of them while Diogo Dalot, Joao Cancelo, Danilo Pereira, Otavio, Ruben Neves, Vitinha and Joao Felix also missed out. 

The 39-year-old is preparing for Euro 2024 and what will likely be his final major tournament. 

But he has been afforded some rest rather than pushing himself. 

He played 90 minutes for Al Nassr on Saturday and is now on a small break in Saudi Arabia with his family. 

So Portugal have allowed Ronaldo some extra time off to recover and avoid any injuries ahead of the tournament in Germany this summer. 

The footballing icon will still be featuring for his country this international break though. 

He will join up with the A Selecao squad after the Sweden game to prepare for their next friendly against Slovenia on March 26. 

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Manchester United’s Dalot as well as Cancelo, Pereira, Otavio, Neves, Vitinha and Felix will all be joining the squad for the Slovenia clash too. 

Ronaldo’s absence will mean Paris Saint-Germain’s Goncalo Ramos will likely lead the line. 

And pressure will be on Rafael Leao and Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva’s shoulders to create things for him. 

It will be a good test for Portugal to see how they will fair without their all-time top goalscorer with this summer possibly being his last dance. 

The friendly between Portugal and Sweden will kick-off at the Estadio Dom Afonso Henriques in Guimaraes at 7:45pm tonight.

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