Lisbon: Portugal announced a 26-member squad for the FIFA World Cup 2022 on Thursday, with Cristiano Ronaldo (37) set to play his fifth World Cup for the country. The squad also features 39-year-old veteran defender Pepe who is with FC Porto currently as the Portugal coach has invested his faith in the footballer. Ronaldo has also received the backing of National Coach, Fernando Santos despite not having scored for Portugal in the last three appearances.
The charismatic footballer led the team to victory at the 2016 European Championship and to the 2019 UEFA Nations League title. “All the players that I have called up come with a hunger to win and make Portugal world champion, Ronaldo included. I believe we can be world champions and that’s what this team can give,” Santos said as quoted by ESPN.
Despite being in the middle of his most challenging season, Ronaldo, the all-time leading scorer for men’s international teams with 117 goals, was always expected to be included.
In 16 games across all competitions, Ronaldo has only managed three goals while making just four Premier League starts. As a result of his refusal to enter the game as a substitute in United’s victory over Tottenham in October, coach Erik ten Hag dismissed him from the team.
In the hopes of playing Champions League football, the former Real Madrid and Juventus player asked to leave Manchester United in the summer. However, there were no takers. Portugal will begin their World Cup campaign against Ghana on November 23 and will face Uruguay and South Korea in Group H. The 2022 FIFA World Cup will be played in Qatar from November 20 with the finals to be played on December 18.
Goalkeepers: Diogo Costa, Jose Sa, Rui Patricio.
Defenders: Diogo Dalot, Joao Cancelo, Danilo Pereira, Pepe, Ruben Dias, Antonio Silva, Nuno Mendes, Raphael Guerreiro.
Midfielders: Joao Palhinha, Ruben Neves, Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes, Joao Mario, Matheus Nunes, Vitinha, William Carvalho, Otavio.