Cristiano Ronaldo heads up Portugal 2018 FIFA World Cup squad, Barca’s Gomes axed
Cristiano Ronaldo will lead European champions Portugal in their bid for 2018 FIFA World Cup glory but there is no place for Barcelona midfielder Andre Gomes in Fernando Santos’ squad. (FULL COVERAGE)
Ruben Neves also misses out despite an outstanding season in the Championship with Wolves but Joao Mario is included after being loaned to Premier League strugglers West Ham from Inter.
Experienced winger Nani misses out, although fellow seasoned campaigner Ricardo Quaresma bolsters an attack featuring the likes of Ronaldo, AC Milan striker Andre Silva and Manchester City playmaker Bernardo Silva.
Rony Lopes has impressed for Bernardo Silva’s for former club Monaco but he is one of the names cut from Santos’ preliminary squad of 35, along with unlikely Euro 2016 final hero Eder.
START VS SPAIN
Portugal kick-off their Group B campaign in Russia with a mouth-watering clash against neighbours Spain before facing Morocco and Iran.
“It is not possible to say if the squad is stronger than the Euros,” Santos told reporters. “I have absolute confidence in this squad, as I had in the other.
“Portugal, in a hundred years, had never won anything. With the quality of the players in the squad now, if you ask me, I say that I have the same confidence in both groups.”
On the omission of Gomes, who has endured a torrid time at Barcelona since moving to Camp Nou after Euro 2016 from Valencia, Santos added: “I have great respect for Andre Gomes, the players are all like my children. But I cannot have children and stepchildren.”
Portugal’s final 23-man 2018 FIFA World Cup squad:
Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Beto (Goztepe), Rui Patrício (Sporting CP); Bruno Alves (Rangers), Cedric Soares (Southampton), Jose Fonte (Dalian Yifang), Mario Rui (Napoli), Pepe (Besiktas), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund), Ricardo Pereira (Porto) Ruben Dias; Adrien Silva (Leicester City), Bruno Fernandes (Sporting CP), Joao Mario (Inter), Joao Moutinho (Monaco), Manuel Fernandes (Lokomotiv Moscow), William Carvalho (Sporting CP); Andre Silva (AC Milan), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Gelson Martins (Sporting), Gonçalo Guedes (Valencia) and Ricardo Quaresma (Besiktas)
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