Ronaldo to start for Portugal against Ireland

EAST RUTHERFORD New Jersey: Cristiano Ronaldo was named in the Portugal team on Tuesday for their last warm-up match before the World Cup starts in Brazil.

The World Player of the Year missed his country`s recent friendlies against Greece and Mexico because of problems with his left knee and right thigh.

But the 29-year-old forward was cleared to make his return and start in the friendly against Ireland at New Jersey`s MetLife Stadium.

Midfielder Raul Meireles, who has had a thigh problem, was also named in the team while central defender Pepe, who has been struggling with a leg muscle injury, was among the substitutes.

Ronaldo struggled with minor injuries during the closing weeks of Real Madrid`s season and has not played since the Champions League final against Atletico Madrid, raising concerns about his fitness for the World Cup.

His timely return is a welcome boost for Portugal who are drawn in the same group as Germany, Ghana and the United States for the World Cup, which starts in Brazil on Thursday.