Ronaldo released by Portugal, free to link up with Manchester United

AP , Thursday 2 Sep 2021

Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo (R) fights for the ball with Republic of Ireland's defender Andrew Omobamidele during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 European qualifying round group A football match between Portugal and Republic of Ireland at the Algarve stadium in Loule, near Faro, southern Portugal, on September 1, 2021. AFP

Cristiano Ronaldo was released from Portugal's squad on Thursday, freeing the forward to join up earlier than expected with new club Manchester United.

Ronaldo became the highest-scoring player in the history of men's international soccer by netting his 110th and 111th goals for Portugal in a 2-1 win over Ireland in a World Cup qualifying match on Wednesday.

He also got booked in that match, meaning he has to miss the qualifier against Azerbaijan on Tuesday through suspension. As a result, Portugal has allowed Ronaldo to leave the squad after a recovery session early Thursday.

He will also miss a friendly match against Qatar on Saturday.

Ronaldo completed his return to United on Tuesday. His early release from international duty could enable him to spend more time with his new teammates ahead of his likely first match of his second spell at the club, against Newcastle at Old Trafford on Sept. 11.

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