Ronaldo included in Portugal squad for World Cup qualifiers

National Sports

LISBON, Portugal (AP)Portugal will play its upcoming World Cup qualifiers with Cristiano Ronaldo, who will have another chance to break the all-time men’s international scoring record.

Coach Fernando Santos on Thursday included Ronaldo in Portugal’s squad, which will have many of the players who participated in the European Championship.

Ronaldo scored his 109th goal with Portugal at Euro 2020 to tie former Iran striker Ali Daei as the all-time men’s top scorer in international soccer.

Santos said Ronaldo left Juventus’ practice session with an arm issue on Wednesday but should be fit to join the national team. He dismissed the notion that the star forward will be affected by the rumors about his club future.

”If there is one thing that no one can question about him is his love for the national team,” Santos said.

Seven players from Euro 2020 team were left off Santos’ list, including Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix because of injury. Others not included were Nelson Semedo, William Carvalho and Renato Sanches. Ricardo Pereira and Joao Mario were back in the list after not playing at Euro 2020.

Santos called up three newcomers to the national team – Porto midfielder Otavio, Sporting Lisbon defender Goncalo Inacio and Porto goalkeeper Diogo Costa.

Portugal will face Ireland and Azerbaijan in September. It will also play World Cup host Qatar.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Rui Patricio (Roma), Diogo Costa (Porto)

Defenders: Joao Cancelo (Manchester City), Ricardo Pereira (Leicester), Domingos Duarte (Granada), Goncalo Inacio (Sporting Lisbon), Pepe (Porto), Ruben Dias (Manchester City), Nuno Mendes (Sporting Lisbon), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund)

Midfielders: Danilo Pereira (Paris Saint-Germain), Joao Palhinha (Sporting Lisbon), Ruben Neves (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), Joao Moutinho (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Joao Mario (Benfica), Otavio (Porto)

Forwards: Pedro Goncalves (Sporting Lisbon), Andre Silva (Eintracht Frankfurt), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus), Diogo Jota (Liverpool), Goncalo Guedes (Valencia), Rafa Silva (Benfica)

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