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Ronaldo urges fans to make life difficult for giant-killers North Macedonia in playoff tie

Cristiano Ronaldo has urged local fans to make their presence felt at Porto’s Dragao Stadium on Tuesday (March 29) when Portugal host giant-killers North Macedonia in a playoff tie that will secure the winners a place in this year’s World Cup finals in Qatar.

North Macedonia created a huge shock last week when they eliminated Italy, the winners of four World Cup titles, from the running to secure a place in the 32-team tournament.

Hence the Portugal talisman has called on supporters to ensure they do not suffer the same fate.

“I am certain that if the Portuguese people are with us tomorrow as much as they were last Thursday, we will win the match,” Ronaldo told a news conference on Monday (March 28).

The 37-year-old Manchester United striker said that he and his team mates were “very confident” about taking on the North Macedonians, who shocked Italy 1-0 in their playoff semi-final.

“It will be the game of our lives too,” said the Portugal captain, who dismissed suggestions that they were facing “an easier opponent” instead of the highly anticipated showdown between the last two European champions.

Ronaldo was, however, irritated when asked if Qatar would be his last World Cup if Portugal qualified for the finals.

“I’m the one who will decide my future, nobody else. If I want to keep playing, I will play. If I want to stop, I won’t play. I’m the one who is in charge. That’s it,” a visibly angry Ronaldo said.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos called the match a final and said the pressure was on but that Portugal were determined to make it to Qatar.

“The pressure we have is the pressure to be in Qatar and that is a good pressure,” Santos said.

(Production: Kurt Michael Hall)

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