sport

Ronaldo return buoys Bento

Portugal coach Paulo Bento was happy to see Cristiano Ronaldo return from injury in the 5-1 friendly win over the Republic of Ireland in New Jersey.

Ronaldo had not played since Real Madrid's UEFA Champions League triumph over Atletico Madrid last month due to knee and thigh problems.

He had missed Portugal's games against Greece and Mexico, but returned for the final World Cup warm-up against Ireland on Tuesday night and played 66 minutes.

The forward created one of Hugo Almeida's two goals and is now in contention to start Portugal's opening World Cup game in Group G against Germany on June 16.

"Yes, it was important that he played and we would not hide it," said Bento.

"A player like Ronaldo is important for any team, and that's the case for us. It's good that he is back."

Bento will hope Ronaldo has regained a little more of his customary sharpness by the time of the Germany game, however, he was content enough with what he saw against Ireland.

He added: "I think he had a good match alongside what we did collectively. Considering he has been without competitive football for a few weeks, I think he did well."

And Nani was also delighted to see his old Manchester United team-mate back in action, saying: "I think he showed he's good, he's well, and I think he showed he will be 100 per cent.

"We are in a tough group but when you are in the World Cup you know you have to challenge the best teams. We are ready for that and we are confident."