Ronaldo called up to lead Portugal in Nations League

Real Sociedad's Jon Pacheco and Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo during group E Europa League soccer match between Manchester United and Real Sociedad at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)

Cristiano Ronaldo was included in the Portugal squad on Thursday for upcoming Nations League matches against the Czech Republic and Spain.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos said he is not worried with Ronaldo not playing much at Manchester United this season.

“Nobody here has any doubts about how important he continues to be for the national team,” Santos said.

João Félix, Diogo Jota, Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes also were included in the 26-player list, along with defenders João Cançelo, Pepe and newcomer Tiago Djaló.

Out because of injuries were Otávio and Renato Sanches. Santos also left out André Silva, Gonçalo Guedes and João Moutinho, Portugal’s player with the second-most appearances with the national team behind Ronaldo.

Portugal will play at the Czech Republic on Sept. 24 and then will host Spain three days later.

Portugal, winner of the inaugural edition of the Nation League in 2019, trails Spain by one point in Group 2 of League A. The team is three points ahead of the Czech Republic.

The Portuguese soccer federation earlier Thursday released its uniform for the World Cup in Qatar, with a jersey inspired by the nation’s green and red flag. Moving away from the traditional plain red, the new shirt has both the red and green colors on each side of a diagonal line across the chest.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Diogo Costa (Porto), José Sá (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Rui Patrício (Roma)

Defenders: Diogo Dalot (Manchester United), João Cancelo (Manchester City), Danilo Pereira (Paris Saint-Germain), Pepe (Porto), Rúben Dias (Manchester City), Tiago Djaló (Lille), Nuno Mendes (Paris Saint-Germain), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund)

Midfielders: João Palhinha (Fulham), Rúben Neves (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), João Mário (Benfica), Matheus Nunes (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Vitinha (Paris Saint-Germain), William Carvalho (Real Betis)

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), Diogo Jota (Liverpool), Pedro Neto (Wolverhampton Wanderers), João Félix (Atlético Madrid), Rafa Silva (Benfica), Rafael Leão (AC Milan), Ricardo Horta (Braga) 

By Agencies Jan. 27, 2023
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