Portugal’s national football team is embarking on a new chapter as they begin their European Championship qualifying campaign under the guidance of new coach Roberto Martínez. The team will take on Liechtenstein in their opening match of Group J on Thursday, with star player Cristiano Ronaldo still in the squad.

Ronaldo, who recently played for Saudi club Al Nassr after a lackluster stint with Manchester United, is set to break the all-time record of appearances for a national team. He tied Bader Al-Mutawa’s record of 196 appearances for Kuwait during last year’s World Cup and is eager to continue adding to his tally.

“It was a difficult decision after the World Cup, but I reflected with my family and we concluded that it wasn’t time to throw in the towel,” Ronaldo stated in a press conference on Wednesday. “I still feel I have a lot to give to the team and I want to keep playing.”

While Portugal is under new management with Martínez, who previously coached Belgium, Ronaldo’s presence on the team remains essential. The coach has expressed his desire to include the star player in his squad, and Ronaldo is equally keen to continue representing his country.

“Records are always positive, and they are my motivation,” Ronaldo said. “I enjoy breaking records, and this particular record is special. I will be extremely proud if it happens, but I don’t want to stop playing anytime soon. I want to keep playing more games and continue to contribute to the team.”

Portugal’s match against Liechtenstein marks the beginning of their journey towards qualifying for Euro 2024, with the team eager to redeem themselves after a disappointing performance in the World Cup. With Ronaldo still leading the charge, the team will be looking to achieve their goals and secure their spot in the prestigious tournament.

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