Cristiano Ronaldo will captain Portugal to the World Cup in 2022, according to Fernando Santos, who nominated the veteran attacker to his 26-man team on Thursday.
The 37-year-old striker from Manchester United, who hasn’t been his club’s first choice this season, will take part in his nation’s attempt to win the event for the first time ever.
With 117 goals, Ronaldo is the all-time best scorer in men’s international football. He is supported in attack by several younger teammates, such Joao Felix of Atletico Madrid and Rafael Leao of AC Milan.
Ronaldo included, every player Santos called up “comes with the drive to win and become Portugal world champions.”
Antonio Silva, a 19-year-old center defender for Benfica, and the seasoned Pepe, 39, were both called up by the coach who guided Portugal to victory at the 2016 Euros in France. Renato Sanches, a midfielder for Paris Saint-Germain, was left out of the group.
Joao Moutinho, a 36-year-old midfielder for Wolves, was not selected, nor was Goncalo Guedes, despite having played 146 times for his nation, the most of any player save Cristiano Ronaldo.
Portugal’s World Cup campaign begins on November 24 against Ghana in Group H, followed by matches against Uruguay on November 28 and South Korea on December 2.
Goalkeepers for the whole team are Diogo Costa (Porto), Jose Sa (Wolverhampton/ENG), and Rui Patricio (Roma/ITA).
Defenders include Diogo Dalot of Manchester United, Joao Cancelo of Manchester City, Pepe of Porto, Nuno Mendes of Paris Saint-Germain, Danilo Pereira of Manchester City, Ruben Dias of Manchester City, Antonio Silva of Benfica, and Raphael Guerreiro of Borussia Dortmund.
Midfielders: Otavio (Porto), Joao Mario (Benfica), Matheus Nunes (Wolverhampton/ENG), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City/ENG), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United/ENG), Joao Palhinha (Fulham/ENG), William Carvalho (Real Betis/ESP), Vitinha (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA), Ruben Neves (Wolverhampton/ENG),
Forwards include Ricardo Horta of Braga, Goncalo Ramos of Benfica, Rafael Leao of AC Milan, Joao Felix of Atletico Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United, and Andre Silva of RB Leipzig.
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