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Ronaldo poised for Euro record as Portugal name squad

Football
 Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo (L) fights for the ball with Slovenia's midfielder Timi Elsnik. [AFP]

Cristiano Ronaldo is likely to set a Euro record after he was named in Portugal's 26-man 2024 squad, unveiled on Tuesday by coach Roberto Martinez.

The 39-year-old, five-time Ballon d'Or winner will be appearing in his 11th major international tournament.

He played his first at Euro 2004 and will be making a record sixth appearance at the men's continental championship. He collected a winner's medal in France in 2016, even though he went off injured after 25 minutes in the final.

Ronaldo, who plays his club football for Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia, already holds the men's world record for caps (206) and international goals (128).

He again proved indispensable as Portugal won all 10 of their qualifying games, scoring 36 goals and conceding two.

Ronaldo hit 10 goals in nine qualifying appearances.

Praising "a player who has scored 42 goals in 41 matches for his club", Martinez said he felt that the striker continued to offer "a quality in front of goal that we really appreciate and need".

In spite of his advancing years, Ronaldo will not be the senior player in the squad.

His former Real Madrid team-mate Pepe, 41, and now playing for Porto, has also been called up because of his "important role in the dressing room", said Martinez.

Before facing the Czech Republic, Turkey and then Georgia in Group F of the Euro, from 14 June to 14 July in Germany, the Selecao will play warm-up matches against Finland, Croatia and Ireland.

Alongside Ronaldo in attack, Martinez has selected strikers Rafael Leao, Joao Felix and Goncalo Ramos, as well as Pedro Neto and Francisco Conceicao.

The creative midfielders include Bernardo Silva, who has just won an English title with Manchester City, and Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Diogo Costa (Porto), Rui Patricio Roma/ITA), Jose Sa (Wolves/ENG)

Defenders: Joao Cancelo (Barcelona/ESP), Nelson Semedo (Wolves/ENG), Diogo Dalot (Manchester United/ENG), Nuno Mendes (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA), Ruben Dias (Manchester City/ENG), Antonio Silva (Benfica), Goncalo Inacio (Sporting), Pepe (Porto), Danilo Pereira (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA)

Midfielders: Joao Palhinha (Fulham/ENG), Ruben Neves (Al-Hilal/KSA), Joao Neves (Benfica), Vitinha (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA), Otavio Monteiro (Al Nassr/KSA), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United/ENG), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City/ENG)

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Al Nassr/KSA), Rafael Leao (AC Milan/ITA), Joao Felix (FC Barcelona/ESP), Goncalo Ramos (Paris SG/FRA), Diogo Jota (Liverpool/ENG), Pedro Neto (Wolves/ENG), Francisco Conceicao (Porto)

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