Cristiano Ronaldo idolised by Portugal stars - Bruno Alves

Cristiano Ronaldo and the stars of Portugal were again out in force again in Kazan, Russia, as they prepare for their Confederations Cup opener against Mexico.

Cristiano Ronaldo and the stars of Portugal were again out in force again in Kazan, Russia, as they prepare for their Confederations Cup opener against Mexico.

The Real Madrid star is set to lead the line for the European champions in a competition designed to act as a dress rehearsal for the hosts ahead of next year's World Cup.

And preparations were stepping up a gear ahead of Portugal's first Group A fixture against the CONCACAF representatives Mexico, which will be played in the 45,000-seater Kazan Arena on Sunday.

Cristiano Ronaldo rises high to meet the ball as he trains with Portugal in Kazan, Russia

Cristiano Ronaldo rises high to meet the ball as he trains with Portugal in Kazan, Russia

Ronaldo (R) and defender Bruno Alves enjoy themselves ahead of the Confederations cup

Ronaldo (R) and defender Bruno Alves enjoy themselves ahead of the Confederations cup

Portugal kick off their Confederations Cup campaign against Mexico on Friday afternoon

They will also play hosts Russia and New Zealand in the eight-team tournament group phase

They will also play hosts Russia and New Zealand in the eight-team tournament group phase

PORTUGAL FIXTURES

18 JUN

Portugal vs Mexico

21 JUN

Russia vs Portugal

24 JUN

New Zealand vs Portugal

Ronaldo, fresh from winning La Liga and the Champions League with Real Madrid, looked to be at the centre of proceedings as he discussed tactics with head coach Fernando Santos and directed drills.

He appeared alongside Manchester City's new signing Bernardo Silva and Barcelona midfielder Ander Gomes.

One player who was particularly happy to be training with Ronaldo was Rangers defender Bruno Alves, who will contest the Confederations Cup at the ripe old age of 35.

Alves told reporters: 'For me, it's exciting to be back in Russia and to play in a competition I've never been in before.

'It's a special competition because there are many champions of every continent here. We believe we are good enough to win it. If you are the champions of Europe, then you deserve the right to be respected.' 

Ronaldo directs a team-mate alongside his fellow Real Madrid star Pepe during training

Ronaldo directs a team-mate alongside his fellow Real Madrid star Pepe during training

Ronaldo talks with Fernando Santos
Andre Gomes and Bernardo Silva embrace

Ronaldo talks with Fernando Santos while Andre Gomes and Bernardo Silva share a hug

Barcelona star Gomes displays his dribbling skills during a routine session in Kazan

Barcelona star Gomes displays his dribbling skills during a routine session in Kazan

Gelson Martins and William Carvalho stretch  out during the session

Gelson Martins and William Carvalho stretch  out during the session

Ricardo Quaresma, Bernando Silva and Andre Silva in action joke with one another in training

Ricardo Quaresma, Bernando Silva and Andre Silva in action joke with one another in training

The defender, who has 90 caps for Portugal, was also quick to praise the country's star man Ronaldo, saying that it is not only the fans that idolise him but the players too.

He continued: 'There are no words for my respect for Cristiano Ronaldo. He wins everything he enters. He is an absolute idol... even for us players too.'

Ronaldo, however, will have to deal with the distraction of an ongoing court case over alleged tax fraud while in Russia. 

The Portugal captain has been accused by Madrid's regional state prosecutor of four counts of fraud relating to image rights payments totalling £12.9m - which have been denied by Ronaldo's representatives.

Potentially referring to newspaper reports surrounding the allegations, Ronaldo posted a photo of himself shushing the camera with the caption: 'Sometimes the best answer is to be quiet.'

Cristiano Ronaldo posted a photo to Instagram ahead of Portugal's training session in Kazan

Cristiano Ronaldo posted a photo to Instagram ahead of Portugal's training session in Kazan