Fernando Santos announced his 26-man squad of Portugal with Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe. The 2016 Euro champions will be looking to clinch the title at Qatar with their talismanic forward heading into possibly one last world cup.
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Santos with a star-studded squad
Portugal have some of the biggest stars of football playing for their country. The team which was once dependent only on Cristiano Ronaldo now got players like Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva, Joao Cancelo and Ruben Dias at their disposal. Portugal never tasted success in any major tournament before 2016. The team went on to win Euro 2016 and UEFA Nations League 2019.
They have an incredible core group of players led by manager Fernando Santos. This core group which has won the Iberian nation two titles will look to put up an impressive show at Qatar and win that one elusive title. Portugal’s best ever finish in a world cup comes from 1966 where they ended up as third best team.
19 year old Antonio Silva is a surprise pick from Santos. The Benfica centre back grabbed some eyeballs after an impressive start to the season. Joao Moutinho, Goncalo Guedes and Renato Sanches are some of the notable omissions from Portugal squad. Diogo Jota and Pedro Neto are ruled out with injury.
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Cristiano Ronaldo – 5th and final world cup?
The Portuguese captain joins a rare club of players to have played at 5 world cup editions. The 5 time Balon D’or winner is going to Qatar as a shadow of himself. Ronaldo is not a guaranteed starter at Manchester under Erik Ten Hag. In 16 appearances he has scored 3 goals which is very poor by his own standards.
Having known Ronaldo’s mentality, he will always give a comeback and prove the doubters wrong. The whole of Portugal will look forward to their captain to do it one more time. Portugal haven’t made any big noise at last few world cups, Qatar will be a golden opportunity with the kind of squad available.
Cristiano is 37 years old and by 2026 he will be 41. He hasn’t ruled out about his participation at 2026 world cup with the kind of fitness he maintains. Irrespective of how the former Madrid superstar fares, it is time to acknowledge his illustrious career and celebrate him.
Portugal’s 26-man squad for Qatar
Goalkeepers : Diogo Costa (Porto/Portugal), Rui Patricio (AS Roma/Italy), Jose Sa (Wolverhampton/England).
Defenders : Joao Cancelo (Manchester City/England), Diogo Dalot (Manchester United/England), Ruben Dias (Manchester City/England), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund/Germany), Nuno Mendes (PSG/France), Pepe (Porto/Portugal), Danilo Pereira (PSG/France), Antonio Silva (Benfica/Portugal).
Midfielders : William Carvalho (Real Betis/Spain), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United/England), Joao Mario (Benfica/Portugal), Ruben Neves (Wolverhampton/England), Matheus Nunes (Wolverhampton/England), Otavio (Porto/Portugal), Joao Palhinha (Fulham/England), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City/England), Vitinha (PSG/France).
Forwards : Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid/Spain), Ricardo Horta (SC Braga/Portugal), Goncalo Ramos (Benfica/Portugal), Rafael Leao (AC Milan/Italy), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United/England), Andre Silva (RB Leipzig/Germany).
Also read: Switzerland’s 26-man Squad for 2022 FIFA World Cup