Ronaldo to lead talented Portugal squad in Qatar World Cup

Cristiano Ronaldo will enter his fifth World Cup with a Portugal squad filled with talented players but that will be missing some national team regulars.

Ronaldo will team up with Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes and João Félix, but among those not included in the list of 26 players selected by coach Fernando Santos on Thursday were João Moutinho, José Fonte and Renato Sanches. Also not going to Qatar is Liverpool’s Diogo Jota because of an injury.

Others who made the squad include João Cancelo, Rúben Dias and 39-year-old central defender Pepe. Defender António Silva, who is 19 and received his first call up, also will be going to Qatar.

The 37-year-old Ronaldo has been showing signs of a decline for the first time in his career but will still the the leader for a Portugal squad seeking its first World Cup title.

After finally earning a major international trophy at the 2016 European Championship, Portugal also added the title of the inaugural edition of the Nations League at home in 2019. But it didn’t make it past the round of 16 at the 2018 World Cup or at Euro 2020.

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Portugal squad:

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

Defenders: Diogo Dalot (Manchester United), Danilo Pereira (PSG), João Cancelo (Manchester City), António Silva (Benfica), Pepe (Porto), Rúben Dias (Manchester City), Nuno Mendes (PSG), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund)

Midfielders: William Carvalho (Real Betis), Rúben Neves (Wolverhampton), Otávio Monteiro (Porto), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Matheus Nunes (Wolverhampton), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), João Mário (Benfica), João Palhinha (Fulham), Vitinha (PSG)

Forwards: André Silva (Leipzig), Ricardo Horta (Braga), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), João Félix (Atlético Madrid), Rafael Leão (AC Milan), Gonçalo Ramos (Benfica)

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AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni

The Associated Press