Andre Silva will relish playing with "the best in the world" Cristiano Ronaldo if he is picked to start alongside the Real Madrid star for Portugal against Morocco at the World Cup.
Portugal coach Fernando Santos opted to pair Goncalo Guedes with Ronaldo from kick-off in the thrilling 3-3 draw with Spain in Sochi, where the captain of the Euro 2016 winners netted a stunning 88th-minute free-kick to deny one of the favourites, who were reeling from the shock sacking of coach Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the tournament.
Ronaldo, 33, became the oldest scorer of a hat-trick in World Cup history and just the fourth player to find the back of the net at four different editions of the tournament.
And should Santos elevate Silva to the starting XI, the AC Milan forward knows he will be privileged to link up with one of the game's greats.
"I told you, playing next to him is a dream," he was quoted as saying by A Bola.
"I can say that [he] makes things easier, he is the best in the world. Things happen more naturally, sometimes passes that could be more difficult, he facilitates.
"We understand each other very well, it's good to play alongside him. When you need me to do something, I'm always there when I need it, too. I occupy spaces, in the movements we open spaces for each other, I hope everything goes back to this way."
Questioned about his chances of being picked, Silva said: "I do not know how to respond, this is the job of the mister [coach], he knows who plays.
"What I know is that I have given my best, everyone wants to join the XI, but we all agree on the choices of the mister."
Morocco are set to be without Nordin Amrabat due to concussion sustained in their agonising 1-0 loss to Iran, but attacking midfielder Faycal Fajr is remaining positive, despite the pain of conceding a 90th-minute own goal after dominating possession in St. Petersburg.
He said: "We cannot wait… to face Portugal, we are not dead yet, we all believe in success to make our supporters and the Moroccan people proud. We want to make our supporters happy. We lost a battle, but not the war."
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Portugal – Cristiano Ronaldo
Sometimes it's hard to remember there are 10 other players on the field making Portugal tick when Ronaldo enjoys one of his serial dates with destiny.
He may have lifted the Henri Delaunay Trophy in Paris two years ago, but after suffering a knee injury early in the final, the extraordinarily driven attacker will be determined to finally make his mark on the World Cup.
Morocco – Aziz Bouhaddouz
Just 13 unlucky minutes separated Aziz Bouhaddouz's introduction as a substitute against Iran and the calamitous headed own goal that saw his team end their opening match empty handed, despite enjoying 68 per cent of possession.
Should he be afforded a chance to make amends from kick-off or off the bench, all eyes will be on the resilience of the unfortunate St. Pauli player.
KEY OPTA STATS
- Morocco beat Portugal 3-1 in their only previous encounter, in the group stages of the 1986 World Cup. It was Morocco's first win at the tournament.
- Portugal's only defeat against African opposition at the World Cup came against Morocco in 1986 (1-3) – they've won two and drawn one of their subsequent three games against them.
- Portugal have not lost against a non-European nation at the World Cup since June 2002, when they were beaten 1-0 to South Korea (W5 D3 since).
- Portugal have lost only one of their last 10 World Cup group games (0-4 v Germany in 2014), winning five and drawing the other four.
- Morocco had 68 per cent possession in their 1-0 defeat to Iran, the most by a losing team in a World Cup match since June 2010, when Spain had 73 per cent possession against Switzerland but lost 1-0.
- Ronaldo's three goals for Portugal against Spain made him the oldest hat-trick scorer in the history of the World Cup (33y 130d). His third goal in that game was also the first time he'd scored from direct free-kick in a major international tournament, at the 45th attempt.
- Ronaldo had scored three goals from 70 shots in his previous three World Cup tournaments combined for Portugal (2006, 2010 and 2014) – at the 2018 World Cup, he has scored three goals from just four shots.
18 de diciembre 2018
|Mourinho sacked: Real Madrid´s Marcelo lauds ´great coach´ after United exit|
|Unadkat, Varun the top buys at IPL auction|
|Emery prepared to give youth a chance in north London derby|
|BREAKING NEWS: Tottenham extend Vertonghen contract until 2020|
|Panthers safety Reid receives seventh random drug test of 2018|
|Kovac relishing Klopp challenge in Champions League|
|Bancroft to return, teenager Lamichhane to fly the flag for Nepal in Big Bash|
|Liverpool still have plenty of work to do - Klopp|
|Messi ´never imagined´ his success after winning record fifth Golden Shoe|
|WATCH: Timberwolves´ Gibson tries to block shot with his trainer|
|Mourinho sacked: Klopp praises departed Manchester United boss|
|Mourinho sacked: Jose the best Manchester United manager since Ferguson - Gerrard|
|Mourinho sacked: Ferdinand calls for ´fresh ideas´ at Man United|
|Mourinho sacked: The mystique has gone as United spell ends in divorce|
|´He´s an interest not only for us but for many´ - Zola praises rumoured Chelsea target Wilson|
|Mourinho sacked: Pochettino focused on Spurs amid Manchester United rumours|
|Mendis eyes double-century for departing Samaraweera|
|Mourinho sacked: Zola expects Jose to be in another job ´soon´|
|Mourinho sacked: Five reasons it went wrong at Manchester United|
|Mourinho sacked: Jose´s Manchester United record in Opta stats|
|Mourinho sacked: Pogba, Ronaldo and Jose´s biggest bust-ups|
|Mourinho sacked: Blanc, Solskjaer - the men who could steady the United ship short-term|
|Mourinho sacked: The football world reacts|
|Mourinho sacked: What former United stars said after Liverpool loss|
|Mourinho sacked: Where next for the axed Manchester United boss?|
|UEFA to investigate alleged racist incidents at Vidi-Chelsea|
|Australia unchanged for rest of India series|
|Mourinho sacked: Pogba´s tweet a dig at departing Man United boss?|
|Newton left frustrated by shoulder injury as Panthers lose again|
|Mourinho sacked: Pochettino & Zidane lead potential Man Utd replacements|
|Mourinho sacked: Neville urges Man United to go for Pochettino|
|Boylen pleased to see Bulls react to red rag in Thunder fracas|
|Icardi and Inter ´very far´ apart in contract negotiations|
|Mourinho leaves Manchester United|
|Curry humbled by latest milestone|
|Robertson: ´Unbelievable´ Alisson will bounce back from error|
|Curry scores 15,000th regular-season point in Warriors win|
|Rams star Gurley ´day-to-day´ with knee inflammation|
|Saints poised to clinch NFC top seed after topping Panthers|
|Mathews, Mendis centuries frustrate New Zealand|
|Kohli: Relentless Australia deserved victory|
|Relief for Paine and Australia after ending Test drought|
|Australia level series with dominant win over India|
|Libertadores holders River learn group as CONMEBOL boss calls for end to violence|
|Chargers RB Gordon planning to return against Ravens|
|Kobe Bryant visit motivated Browns´ Jabrill Peppers|
|De Bruyne: Fatigue not behind injury woes|
|´That´s not my concern´ - Broncos coach Joseph on job security|
|Lowry on Leonard´s free agency: I just want him to be happy|
|Yankees give Sabathia $500K bonus despite ejection|
|Ronaldo confirmed Juventus interest in January – Mendes|
|Lakers guard Rondo to begin rehab stint in G League|
|Saiz to leave Leeds United for Getafe|
17 de diciembre 2018
|Whyte thinks Joshua rematch is ´only a matter of time´|
|Greenwood stars as Man United end Chelsea´s FA Youth Cup dominance|
|Panthers tight end Olsen expects ´full recovery´ after surgery|
|Derby County 0 Nottingham Forest 0: Lampard´s men fourth after tense stalemate|
|Clermont lose former All Black Toeava for six months|
|MLS unveils revamped playoff format for 2019 season|
|Ferrari to celebrate Schumacher´s 50th birthday with museum exhibition|
|Rabiot set for PSG exit after cancelling contract talks|
|Pepe departs financially troubled Besiktas|
|Philadelphia Flyers fire coach Dave Hakstol|
|Eagles to start Foles v Texans|
|PSG matches against Montpellier and Dijon rearranged|
|Martial agent clouds long-term future after United trigger extension|
|Zverev to make major final in 2019, predicts Ferrero|
|Canelo, Crawford, Lomachenko and the other pound-for-pound contenders|
|Barcelona boss Valverde admits to Lyon uncertainty|
|Club World Cup: Maverick Quintero gets another chance on the big stage|