MOSCOW: Portugal will contest Sunday’s third place playoff in the Confederations Cup against Mexico without Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Portuguese captain, inspirational and Real Madrid superstar has been released from the national squad after the birth of his twins back home.

Portugal lost to Chile on penalties in the semi-final on Wednesday in Kazan and rightback Cedric Soares said: “Unfortunately we won’t be in final but third place is an option and that is our target now.

“Cristiano is very important to this team, but we understand the situation.¬†He spoke to the group and it is perfectly proper that the federation released him.¬†Everyone understood and congratulated him.”

The federation, in a statement announcing he decision, also praised Ronaldo, who had informed it of his children’s birth before ahead of the tournament, for representing the national team at the tournament “in a gesture that we should emphasise and extol”.

After Portugal’s loss to Chile, Ronaldo wrote on his Facebook page he was “very happy to be finally be able to be with my children for the first time”.

Portuguese media have reported that the twins were born to a surrogate mother. Ronaldo is also the father of a boy named Cristiano Ronaldo Jr, who was born in 2010. He has not revealed the mother’s identity.