Fernando Santos believes he had to make the tough calls to leave out a number of Euro 2016 heroes for the good of Portugal’s World Cup bid.
Portugal boss Fernando Santos says it ‘hurts’ that 10 members of his Euro 2016-winning squad have been left out of his World Cup 2018 travelling party but he feels his decisions are justified (Portugal 25/1 – World Cup 2018 Outright).
Lazio winger Nani, Portugal’s third most capped player, is arguably the most notable absentee, while Eder – who scored the winning goal in extra time of the Euro 2016 final – also misses out.
Santos says he is disappointed not to be able to bring along many of the players who helped Portugal claim their first major title but ultimately there was no room for sentiment in his selection process.
“It hurts not to be able to include all the players who were with us in the European Championship,” said Santos.
“They have all contributed to writing a brilliant chapter in the history of Portuguese football, but I had to make choices that for me make a better puzzle.”
Barcelona’s Andre Gomes and fellow midfielder Renato Sanches, who spent the season on loan at Swansea from Bayern Munich, are also among those who helped Portugal win Euro 2016 but have missed out on the 23-man squad for Russia.
Portugal squad World Cup 2018:
Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Beto (Goztepe), Rui Patricio (Sporting Lisbon)
Defenders: Bruno Alves (Rangers), Cedric Soares (Southampton), Jose Fonte (Dalian Yifang), Mario Rui (Napoli), Pepe (Besiktas), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund), Ricardo Pereira (Porto), Ruben Dias (Benfica)
Midfielders: Adrien Silva (Leicester), Bruno Fernandes (Sporting Lisbon), Joao Mario (West Ham), Joao Moutinho (AS Monaco), Manuel Fernandes (Lokomotiv Moscow), William Carvalho (Sporting)
Forwards: Andre Silva (AC Milan), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Gelson Martins (Sporting Lisbon), Goncalo Guedes (Valencia), Ricardo Quaresma (Besiktas)
Portugal will also face Morocco and Iran in World Cup 2018 Group B.
Odds subject to change.