Portugal go toe-to-toe with Uruguay on Monday evening in their second World Cup group game.

Fernando Santos has one of the most talented squads in Qatar at his disposal. 11 of the 26 that made the trip to the Middle East have been bought for a fee in excess of £30m at one point in their career. However, how Santos uses those lucrative assets has been called into question in the past.

Here’s the XI Santos may select from the rich – in every sense of the word – pool of quality.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo’s eight World Cup goals have all come in the group stage / Marvin Ibo Guengoer – GES Sportfoto/GettyImages

GK: Diogo Costa – After seeing Costa come within a whisker of giving away a calamitous equaliser against Ghana, the official national team account tweeted: “The most said word in Portugal now: ‘Just'”

RB: Joao Cancelo – In the absence of Ricardo Quaresma, Cancelo can provide the trivela expertise. “Even back in Benfica’s academy, I would train a lot with this technique so that I would feel comfortable passing the ball with the outside of the foot,” the Manchester City fullback reflected.

CB: Danilo Pereira – Theoretically a midfielder, Danilo’s last nine caps for Portugal have come as a centre-back – a position which he increasingly plays for PSG as well.

CB: Ruben Dias – Echoing the sentiment of Bill Shankly, Dias recently declared: “Football for me is everything. It’s life.”

LB: Raphael Guerreiro – The French-born fullback barely knew a handful of Portuguese words when he made his international debut eight years ago.

CM: Bernardo Silva – Bestowed the unhelpful nickname of “Messi from Seixal” during his days in Benfica’s academy. Fortunately, it didn’t weigh him down (or really catch on).

CM: Ruben Neves – The Wolves captain is responsible for 50% of his club’s Premier League goals this season but has never scored for his country’s senior team.

CM: William Carvalho – During a club career which has taken him to Sporting CP, Cercle Brugge and Real B*tis, Carvalho has only ever known a home kit of green stripes. However, with 77 caps to his name, he is used to red at the international level.

RW: Bruno Fernandes – At 16 he was still a centre-back. Now an attacking midfielder, Fernandes was shoehorned into the team on the wing against Ghana.

ST: Cristiano Ronaldo – The clubless 37-year-old followed in the footsteps of Brazil’s Marta and Canada’s Christine Sinclair to score at a fifth different World Cup.

LW: Joao Felix – Became the fourth-most expensive player in history when Atletico Madrid paid an eye-watering €126m after just 33 senior appearances.

Credit: 90min.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *