Cristiano Ronaldo will bring Portugal back against France and Croatia

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Cristiano Ronaldo was named to the Portuguese squad on Thursday to play a friendly against Andorra and Nations League matches against France and Croatia.The five-time Ballon d’Or winner tested positive for the coronavirus on October 13 while with the Portuguese team, missing out on a 3-0 victory over Sweden.

The 35-year-old finally tested negative 19 days later, returning to the pitch with a brace for Juventus against Spezia in Serie A on Sunday.

The Portugal captain also played in Juve’s 4-1 Champions League win over Ferencvaros on Wednesday.

Reigning European champions Portugal face Andorra on Wednesday ahead of the A3 Nations League home matches against France on November 14 and Croatia three days later.

The main absentee from Fernando Santos’ 25-man squad is Pepe, the 37-year-old center-back with a foot injury.

“He’s an example for the youngest in training, with his attitude,” Santos said of Pepe, who has just signed a contract extension until 2023 with Porto. “It’s a shame he’s not here because normally he’s a shoo-in starter.

Lille defender Jose Fonte, who will provide cover to absent Pepe, and Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes are both included after recovering from Covid-19.

There are early calls for Wolverhampton winger Pedro Neto and Sporting Braga forward Paulinho. Portugal is co-leader with France in group A3, each on 10 points.

“The goal will be to qualify again for the Nations League final and defend the trophy that we won last year,” Santos said.

A secondary objective was to “also take an eye on some players who have the quality to represent this team”, added the coach.

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