Pepe returns to training, Ronaldo expects "very complicated" final

Defender Pepe returned to Portugal training on Friday after recovering from a thigh muscle problem in a boost for the team ahead of the Euro 2016 final against hosts France.

The 33-year-old centre back from Real Madrid had missed several days of training earlier in the week and Wednesday's 2-0 semi-final victory against Wales.

Pepe trained along with his team-mates and is expected to return to the starting 11 on Sunday for the final at the Stade de France just like midfielder William Carvalho, who was suspended for the semi-final.

Portugal, led by captain Cristiano Ronaldo, are seeking their first major title.

"It will be a very complicated game," Ronaldo told reporters, adding that France were an "excellent team."

"Now we have to get ready for Sunday and make our dream come true."

Ronaldo can become the all-time record scorer at European Championships if he nets in the final. He is currently joint-top of the scoring list on nine goals with Michel Platini.

Midfielder Joao Mario spoke of "a unique opportunity" for everyone.

"Portugal have never won a title, we can make history," the Sporting player Mario said at the team's base camp at the French national rugby centre in Marcoussis near Paris. "I am convinced it will be one of the biggest games for all of us."

Mario, 23, recalled with regret how Portugal lost the Euro 2004 final at home against Greece, and sees no favourite on Sunday.

"France are an excellent opponent, they play at home. But we also have big ambitions. We want to win and bring joy to our people," he said.

Last update: Fri, 08/07/2016 - 14:42
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