Ronaldo is convinced his poor run is being influenced by the attitude of his clubmates - in contrast to Portugal, where he scored against Albania just last week.
This would mean no Lionel Messi to drive television ratings; no Messi to spur ticket sales for local organizers; no Messi to distract from off-field controversies surrounding the world-governing body, FIFA.
Behind the scenes, Manchester City's long standing interest in the 30-year-old is active, with representatives holding what has been described as 'serious conversations' with Messi's 'inner circle'. "They have a great group of players and a strong coach as well".
The Catalan giants will be desperate to hang on to their talisman after seeing Neymar leave in a £198m transfer to Paris Saint-Germain in August.
As it stands, Messi's Barcelona deal is due to run out this summer meaning that clubs are free to negotiate with him as early as January.
Brazil has already qualified with 38 points.
"It will be that category of talent".
A loss even leaves the door slightly ajar for a playoff spot.
Messi is currently with the Argentina squad ahead of their crucial World Cup qualifier against Ecuador in the early hours of Wednesday morning, which will determine whether or not they qualify for Russia.
A victory guarantees Chile - the two-time defending South American champions - its third straight World Cup berth.
That result promoted Messi to quit international football, fearing he might be responsible for his country's jinx. Things may not be perfect for Messi at Barcelona, as always seems to be the case, but it's not thought to be serious enough to facilitate a move.
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