Cristiano Ronaldo urges Portuguese fans to drive team on to World Cup

Portugal take on a North Macedonia side fresh from beating Italy in playoff semi-finals

World Cup qualifier final: Portugal v North Macedonia, Estádio do Dragão, Porto, Tuesday, 7.45pm – Live on Virgin Media Two & Sky Sports Football

Cristiano Ronaldo has urged local fans to make their presence felt at Porto's Dragão stadium on Tuesday night when Portugal host giant-killers North Macedonia in a playoff tie that will secure the winners a place in this year's World Cup finals in Qatar.

North Macedonia created a huge shock last week when they eliminated Italy, the winners of four World Cup titles, from the running to secure a place in the 32-team tournament.

Hence the Portugal talisman has called on supporters to ensure they do not suffer the same fate.

“I urge the fans: I want hell breaking loose at Dragão,” Ronaldo told a press conference on Monday.

“I went to bed last night thinking that I want the stadium to shut down the music for our national anthem and let the fans sing it a cappella to show our passion, our strength and union around the objective of reaching the World Cup.

“If our fans show up the way they can, we will win on Tuesday.”

The 37-year-old Manchester United striker said that he and his team-mates were "very confident" about taking on the North Macedonians, who shocked Italy 1-0 in their playoff semi-final.

“It will be the game of our lives too,” said the Portugal captain, who dismissed suggestions that they were facing “an easier opponent” instead of the highly anticipated showdown between the last two European champions.

“The pressure is the same regardless. The team is ready, I don’t care against who we play. If Portugal play at our highest level, we can win against any opponent in the world. So that’s why I insist with my call to the fans: we need your full support on Tuesday. If you are with us, we will win the game.”

Ronaldo was, however, irritated when asked if Qatar would be his last World Cup if Portugal qualified for the finals.

“I’m tired of those questions. I’m the one who decides my future,” a visibly angry Ronaldo said.

“If I want to keep playing, I will. If I want to stop, I will stop. I’m the one who is in charge of those decisions. That’s it.”