Portugal are risking a club versus country row with Real Madrid after revealing Cristiano Ronaldo is under consideration to fill one of their three over-23 slots at the 2016 Olympic Games.
Should the 30-year-old still be at the Santiago Bernabeu heading into the 2016-17 campaign, Madrid are likely to heavily object to his participation in Rio de Janeiro, with the event scheduled to run from August 5-21. That would mean it would cut heavily into Madrid’s pre-season programme and, potentially, a lucrative overseas tour.
Barring injury, Ronaldo is also certain to be involved in the Euro 2016 finals, assuming the Selecao qualify.
Portugal Football Association (FPF) president Fernando Gomes said planning for Rio 2016 is still in the early stages but admitted Ronaldo could feature at the Games.
“It’s a possibility,” Gomes told Globo Esporte when asked about Ronaldo being involved in the Olympics.
“We can take three players aged over 23. Ronaldo is one of our current options but we have not thought too much about it yet.”
Sixteen teams will compete for the gold medal in the men’s football event in Rio, with the three other European entrants confirmed as Germany, Sweden and Denmark.
Ronaldo has enjoyed a glittering career at club level but silverware on the international scene has eluded him, with a runners-up medal at Euro 2004 the closest he’s come to winning a trophy with his country.
Portugal booked their spot in next summer’s Olympics due to the Under-21 side reaching the last four of June’s European Championship finals and, on Tuesday, they could win the tournament with a victory over Sweden.