Follow Sportsmail's dedicated LIVE blog as Portugal take on Ghana in Group H Cristiano Ronaldo, 37, is now a free agent after leaving United earlier this weekHis contract - worth £550,000-a-week - had been set to run until June 2023 The decision was made by mutual consent and he will be paid no compensationFor all the latest updates from Qatar follow Sportsmail's LIVE World Cup blog 

Roy Keane believes Cristiano Ronaldo can use Thursday’s meeting with Ghana to ‘shut a few idiots up’ after facing criticism in recent weeks for his conduct at Manchester United.

The former United skipper suggested Ronaldo can let his football do the talking in the week that saw him leave Old Trafford with immediate effect.

The 37-year-old gave a now-infamous interview to Piers Morgan, in which he blasted numerous figures at the club and admitted he felt betrayed by United.

'He can shut a few IDIOTS up:' Roy Keane backs Cristiano Ronaldo to put Man United sacking behind him and star for Portugal - as Graeme Souness and Joe Cole insist he will feel 'liberated' to be back on the pitch

Roy Keane believes Cristiano Ronaldo can ‘shut a few idiots up’ against Ghana for Portugal

He will lead the line for his country as they take on Otto Addo’s Black Stars in their opening World Cup game in Qatar.

Keane told ITV: ‘I am looking forward to seeing him play. It will settle down now. He has done his talking with a couple of interviews.

‘He has to do his talking on the pitch. I hope he performs on the pitch and I believe he will. He can shut a few idiots up who have been criticising him.

‘I am lucky to have played with him and am glad to be watching him tonight.’

And the the former Republic of Ireland midfielder is not alone in backing the Portuguese legend, with fellow pundits Joe Cole and Graeme Souness equally confident.

'He can shut a few IDIOTS up:' Roy Keane backs Cristiano Ronaldo to put Man United sacking behind him and star for Portugal - as Graeme Souness and Joe Cole insist he will feel 'liberated' to be back on the pitch

Ronaldo is preparing to lead his side against Ghana in their World Cup opener in Group H

Both suggested that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner will be ‘relieved’ and ‘liberated’ after the seismic interview had given rise to mountains of speculation over what his future held.

Former Liverpool icon Souness said: ‘I think he will be relieved. He is a player who enjoys the limelight and the spotlight will be on him.

‘The questions will be asked where he will end up. He will relish the challenge. This is his last World Cup and he will want to go out with a real big bang.’

'He can shut a few IDIOTS up:' Roy Keane backs Cristiano Ronaldo to put Man United sacking behind him and star for Portugal - as Graeme Souness and Joe Cole insist he will feel 'liberated' to be back on the pitch

The 37-year-old’s Old Trafford return grew increasingly sour before the controversial interview

And Cole added: ‘He will be liberated. They have drawn a line under it. No doubt He and his agent have something up their sleeves.

‘They have probably got his new club sorted already. There is only Messi who stands above him as the greatest of all time.

‘He will only have had this World Cup to think about for three weeks.’

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