Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo joins Portugal training camp ahead of World Cup

An exclusive ‘interview’ with Carlos Queiroz, Portugal quiz and more. The Exploding Heads get into the World Cup spirit with a preview of Group B.

Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo joined Portugal’s camp in Cascais on Monday afternoon, 11 days before his country’s World Cup opener against Spain.

The European Champions take on Algeria on Thursday in their final warm-up game in Lisbon’s Estadio da Luz boosted by Ronaldo’s presence.

Ronaldo posted a photograph on his twitter account wearing the No. 7 jersey with the message: “The world is watching. Let’s go to work.”

Portugal struggled without the five-time Ballon d’Or winner in Saturday’s goalless draw against Belgium that followed their 2-2 stalemate with Tunisia.

“The quality increases having the best player in the world with us but the demand continues to be the same,” said Portugal midfielder Joao Moutinho in Monday’s news conference.

“We have a complete group now. He is an added value. We have the best in the world with us and we have to learn and evolve with him.”

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner was given time off after helping Real Madrid lift the Champions League trophy for the third consecutive season — and fourth time in five years — following a 3-1 win over Liverpool on May 26 in Kiev.

The 33-year-old cast doubt over his future at Madrid after the title game, talking about his time at the club in the past tense.

Portugal’s all-time top scorer, Ronaldo scored 44 goals in 44 appearances in all competitions for Los Blancos this past season and is under contract with the Spanish giants until June 2021.

Moutinho, who is on the books at Monaco, does not believe transfer speculation will affect Ronaldo.

“It does not affect him nor will it affect any of the players,” Mourinho said. “We are focused on what we have to do in the national team. We are concentrated on that and not on speculation regarding what a player will or will not do.”

Portugal, coached by Fernando Santos, will also take on Morocco and Iran in Group B.

Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.