LISBON, Portugal (AP) Portugal is going to the World Cup in Russia next month with Cristiano Ronaldo and 12 other players who led the nation to the European Championship title two years ago.
Coach Fernando Santos announced a 23-man squad on Thursday, including nine players who started the final against France at Euro 2016.
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Among the other European champions not going to the World Cup are Ricardo Carvalho, Andre Gomes and Eder, who scored the title-winning goal against the hosts in extra time.
“It hurts not to be able to include all the players who were with us in the European Championship,” Santos said. “All of them helped us write a brilliant page in the history of Portuguese football.”
Andre Gomes’ Barcelona teammate Nelson Semedo was also left out. Real Madrid’s Fabio Coentrao, who has been on loan with Sporting Lisbon, was omitted after saying he wasn’t in the best condition to play for the national team.
“I have to make my decisions taking into consideration the players I believe will best fit the puzzle,” Santos said. “I trust these players the same way I trusted the players who played at Euro 2016.”
Portugal will begin World Cup preparations without Ronaldo, who will play the Champions League final for Madrid against Liverpool on May 26.
Portugal play warm-up matches against Tunisia on May 28, Belgium on June 2 and Algeria on June 7.
Santos’ men will start their World Cup campaign against Spain on June 15 in Sochi.
The other Group B teams are Iran and Morocco.
Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Beto (Goztepe), Rui Patricio (Sporting Lisbon).
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).
Forwards: Andre Silva (AC Milan), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Gelson Martins (Sporting Lisbon), Goncalo Guedes (Valencia), Ricardo Quaresma (Besiktas).