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Russian Federation v New Zealand: Confederations Cup preview

17 June 2017

The BBC later also reported that an "upset" Ronaldo wanted out of Madrid, citing a source close to the player.

Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo has reportedly told his national teammates that he plans to leave Spanish football club Real Madrid after being accused of tax evasion totalling 14.7 million euros ($16.5 million) by Spanish authorities.

Real Madrid issued a statement fully supporting the player, claiming they were "absolutely convinced of his innocence", but Marca alleges that Ronaldo is unsatisfied with the club over their attempts to defend him on the matter. "Both teams have great players, it will be a tough match".

Russia, meanwhile, will be expected to kick-off the Confederations Cup with an impressive showing at the Krestovsky Stadium.

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Chile have brought their biggest names like Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez, Man City keeper Claudio Bravo and Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal and will be among the favourites to go all the away, although their attention will be fixed on qualifying from the ultra competitive South American qualifying zone.

Hosts Russia, New Zealand and Mexico will compete in Group A alongside Portugal, who will be led by reigning Federation Internationale de Football Association men's player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo. Meant to act as a World Cup preview, the Confedrations Cup is always an interesting look at the top teams from each confederation in the world, as well as the reigning World Cup winners and the host nation of the next World Cup.

In addition to being an idol, Ronaldo also serves as a mentor for the talented young forward.

"Regarding Ronaldo, he is motivated, and what I can see is that he is taking the competition very seriously and is totally dedicated to training and thinking about the next game against Mexico", Silva said ahead of the European champions' opening game.

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Ronaldo has scored 11 goals in five games with Portugal this season.

"The Confederations Cup gives us a taste of what to expect the following year with the World Cup", said Ronny Suarez, a soccer fan Hillsborough, New Jersey, rooting for Chile this year.

Portugal has won six of its last seven games, with the only setback coming in a 3-2 loss against Sweden in a friendly in March.

Russia's first worldwide match as an independent nation was a 2-0 win over Mexico in 1992.

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Mexico, despite boasting a better Confederations Cup track record than Portugal, is being considered as the underdog going into Sunday's match.