Football: Portugal without Cristiano Ronaldo for Mexico play-off

Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo holding the ball during the 2017 Confederations Cup semi-final football match between Portugal and Chile at the Kazan Arena in Kazan on June 28, 2017.
Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo holding the ball during the 2017 Confederations Cup semi-final football match between Portugal and Chile at the Kazan Arena in Kazan on June 28, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

Moscow (AFP) - European champions Portugal will have to make do without captain Cristiano Ronaldo as they seek the consolation of a third-place finish in Sunday's Conderations Cup play-off against Mexico.

The Real Madrid star was excused from the squad following Wednesday's penalty shootout defeat to Chile in the semi-finals, returning home to meet his newborn twins.

The 32-year-old, who already has a seven-year-old son, Cristiano Ronaldo Jnr, from a previous relationship, is believed to have fathered the twins with a surrogate mother in the United States.

"We knew he was having family matters at home," Portugal manager Fernando Santos told a news conference on Saturday. "Obviously it was an important moment in his life to have these children, whom he hasn't seen yet.

"And as we failed to reach the final here the president of our football federation and me decided that it will be a nice gesture to give him a chance to be with his family."

Borussia Dortmund's Raphael Guerreiro is also missing for Portugal through injury, but veteran defender Pepe returns after he was suspended for the Chile clash.

"It will be a game with the same commitment with the same willingness to win from both sides, I believe," said Santos. "None of us wanted to play this game as our main goal was to reach the final. But as we failed to get that result we have to be motivated for Sunday's encounter.

"We have the same objective as we have had in the last two and a half years - to play for the win in every game."