Portugal's national football team forward Cristiano Ronaldo (C) takes part in a training session
Cristiano Ronaldo Named Best FIFA Men's Player After Stellar 2017 Photo by Patricia De Melo Moreira/AFP via Getty Images

Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo started training with Portugal as they face a crucial World Cup play-off against Turkey on Thursday.

The Euro 2016 winners will take on Turkey in their World Cup qualifying play-off on Thursday, finishing second in their group behind Serbia. The game against Turkey will be played in Porto; the winners will then take on either Italy or North Macedonia for a place in the finals in Qatar. On Monday, the Portugal captain began training with his national teammates in the training camp at Oeiras, Lisbon.

"Total focus on the 2022 World Cup. Proud, as always, to represent Portugal. We know that the path will not be easy, we have the utmost respect for the opponents we will face and who share the same goals as us. But together, we will fight to put Portugal in its rightful place. Let's do it!" Ronaldo wrote on an Instagram post on Monday.

Ronaldo scored more goals compared to any other Portuguese player in the group. Ronaldo is considered Portugal's second-highest World Cup goalscorer with seven goals across four tournaments.

Several absentees for the Portugal side could hinder their hopes of qualification. Joao Cancelo and Renato Sanches picked up suspensions. They would be back for the potential final round against Macedonia or Italy.

Ruben Dias, Ruben Neves and Nelson Semedo will also not participate in the Turkey game; all are reportedly injured. Dias and Semedo have been absent for a few weeks, while Neves suffered a knee injury in Wolverhampton Wanderers' Friday defeat against Leeds United. Meanwhile, veteran defender Kepler Laveran de Lima Ferreira ComM, known as Pepe, tested positive for Covid-19.

Ronaldo will be 41 by the time 2026 World Cup rolls around. "It wouldn't surprise me if he carried on playing until he was 40," former Man Utd captain Gary Neville said. "[We] saw Tom Brady come out of retirement."

"One of the great things about these players is longevity, it is so important to them, the idea that they can go on longer and further and still play at the highest level. You look at the clubs [Ronaldo has] played for, the leagues he's played in, they way he's demonstrated his skill all over the world so it wouldn't surprise me if there was another story beyond Manchester."

The five-time Ballon d'Or has recently scored 807 total career goals, making him the highest ever goal-scorer in the history of men's football. The newly-announced FIFA all-time top goalscorer has consistently suffered World Cup defeat throughout his career. He has not reached a semi-final since the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo (C) and Portugal's defender Diogo Dalot (L) attend a training session
Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo (C) and Portugal's defender Diogo Dalot (L) attend a training session at the Cidade do Futebol training camp in Oeiras, outside Lisbon, on March 22, 2022, ahead of their FIFA World Cup Qualifier match against Turkey. Photo by Patricia De Melo Morreira/AFP via Getty Images

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