Tuesday 27 December 2016, 12:43

Danny: Portugal are more feared now

Danny, who was ruled out of UEFA EURO 2016 through injury, believes his Portugal team-mates’ triumph has made them more respected.

“Portugal won and they won well!” Danny told Zenit-TV. “We’re all deserving of congratulations. In truth, it’s lifted our morale and now we’re more respected off other national teams. “

Portugal are second in Group B in European qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, three points behind Switzerland – to whom, without Cristiano Ronaldo, they lost 2-0 in Basel – and two points above Hungary. Fernando Santos’s side entertain the Hungarians in late-March and Danny, who hasn’t played since rupturing knee ligaments in April, is hoping to get back into the Zenit team in time to earn an international recall.

“If things go well, I’ll be back training with the team in January,” said the 33-year-old playmaker. “Maybe not at 100 per cent, but I expect to be at least 75 per cent.”

Danny, who was born in Venezuela but grew up, like Ronaldo, on the island of Madeira, has scored four goals in 38 internationals.

Ronaldo is vying with Antoine Griezmann and Lionel Messi to become The Best FIFA Men’s Player 2016, while Fernando Santos is up for The Best FIFA Men’s Coach honour alongside Claudio Ranieri and Zinedine Zidane.