World Cup 2018: Portugal drop 10 Euro 2016 winners in squad for Russia as Cristiano Ronaldo leads new-look side

Euro 2016 final-winner Eder is left out of the squad alongside other notable names such as Nani, Renato Sanches and Andre Gomes

Friday 18 May 2018 08:18
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Fernando Santos has cut 10 players who won Euro 2016 with Portugal
Fernando Santos has cut 10 players who won Euro 2016 with Portugal

Nearly half of Portugal’s triumphant Euro 2016 squad will miss the 2018 World Cup after coach Fernando Santos made what he said were difficult choices in naming his final 23 for Russia on Thursday.

Centre forward Eder, who scored the winning goal in the Euro 2016 final against France, was among 10 players from that squad omitted from Santos’s list.

Other unlucky players included midfielders Andre Gomes and Renato Sanches, forward Nani and defender Eliseu.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal’s all-time leading scorer and most-capped player, headed the list for the European champions, who face Spain, Morocco and Iran in a tricky first round group.

Other stalwarts included goalkeeper Rui Patricio, central defenders Pepe (35) and Bruno Alves (36), midfielders William Carvalho and Joao Moutinho and flamboyant forward Ricardo Quaresma.

“It was extremely difficult to choose the 23. As a professional, I have to make decisions and I know that I’m not going to please everyone,” Santos told a news conference.

“But, on the personal side, it hurts me to leave out players who took part in the European championship, and others who took part in the qualifiers and helped the team get this far.

Cristiano Ronaldo will captain Portugal at the World Cup

“It was, of course, difficult to leave out Eder, Nani and others who wrote the most brilliant page in the history of Portuguese football. But I have to pick the ones who best complete the jigsaw.”

Russian-based midfielder Manuel Fernandes, who is 32 and has won 12 caps, was one of those to be included alongside Napoli left back Mario Rui.

“I can’t say whether this squad is stronger than the one which played at the Euros,” Santos said. “But I have absolute confidence in this squad just as I did in the other one.”

Portugal World Cup squad

Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Olympique Lyonnais), Beto (Goztepe), Rui Patricio (Sporting)

Defenders: Bruno Alves (Rangers), Cedric Soares (Southampton), Jose Fonte (Dalian Yifang), Mario Rui (Napoli), Pepe (Besiktas), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund), Ricardo Pereira (Porto), Ruben Dias (Benfica)

Midfielders: Adrien Silva (Leicester), Bruno Fernandes (Sporting), Joao Mario (West Ham United), Joao Moutinho (AS Monaco), Manuel Fernandes (Lokomotiv Moscow), William Carvalho (Sporting)

Forwards: Andre Silva (Milan), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Gelson Martins (Sporting), Goncalo Guedes (Valencia), Ricardo Quaresma (Besiktas) (Reporting by Joseph Cassinelli and by Brian Homewood, editing by Pritha Sarkar and Ed Osmond)

Reuters

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