Portugal can win playoff without Cristiano Ronaldo - Cedric Soares
MOSCOW -- Portugal defender Cedric Soares has said Sunday's Confederations Cup third-place playoff against Mexico is an opportunity to show the European champions can flourish without captain Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo left the Portugal camp after the semifinal defeat to Chile on Wednesday to meet his new-born twins, with the Portuguese football association and coach Fernando Santos giving their permission.
Southampton's Cedric said on Saturday that others could step up in his absence, telling a news conference: "When we have Cristiano we are clearly stronger, it's logical.
"But we have players with the same quality and we will try to demonstrate our worth against Mexico."
Cedric added that Ronaldo had spoken to the squad before departing the camp and said it was "commendable" that he had stayed until the semifinal, with his children reported to have been born on June 8.
Portugal will be without Borussia Dortmund's Raphael Guerreiro, who has reportedly travelled back to Portugal to continue rehabilitation work on his right ankle.
Manchester City's Bernando Silva is another doubt, with the winger not having taken part in training on Saturday.
Santos and his side have been criticised for some of their performances in Russia, but the coach said: "I know about the criticism and am fine with it.
"If there is criticism relating to the team ... it was this team that gave Portuguese football one of its greatest achievements, if not its biggest, at national team level."
Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @MexicoWorldCup.