Ronaldo headlines Portugal squad for Euro 2024

By Sports Desk May 21, 2024

Cristiano Ronaldo will lead Portugal into his 11th major international tournament after being named in Roberto Martinez's 26-man squad for Euro 2024.

Ronaldo opted against retiring from international football after Portugal suffered a surprise exit at the hands of Morocco at the 2022 World Cup, remaining an integral part of the Selecao setup under Martinez. 

His 14 European Championship goals are an all-time tournament record, putting him five clear of Michel Platini, and he will look to widen that gap in Germany this year.

Portugal, who won all 10 of their qualifiers while scoring 36 goals, will open their Group F campaign against the Czech Republic before facing Turkey and Georgia. 

There are few surprises in Martinez's squad overall, with Manchester City's Matheus Nunes and fellow midfielder Renato Sanches among the most notable absentees.

Bayern Munich's Raphael Guerreiro is absent after missing the end of the Bundesliga campaign through injury, but Wolves winger Pedro Neto is included despite only returning from a hamstring issue on the final day of the Premier League season.

He is one of 10 players from England's top flight to receive the call-up, with Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes and City star Bernardo Silva among the biggest names to make the cut. 

Unlike England boss Gareth Southgate, Martinez opted against naming an expanded squad and cutting it down to 26 closer to the tournament, so his final party will take on Finland, Croatia and the Republic of Ireland in warm-up friendlies next month. 

Full 26-man squad: Diogo Costa (Porto), Jose Sa (Wolves), Rui Patricio (Roma), Antonio Silva (Benfica), Danilo Pereira (Paris Saint-Germain), Diogo Dalot (Manchester United), Goncalo Inacio (Sporting CP), Joao Cancelo (Barcelona), Nelson Semedo (Wolves), Nuno Mendes (Paris Saint-Germain), Pepe (Porto), Ruben Dias (Manchester City), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), Joao Neves (Benfica), Joao Palhinha (Fulham), Otavio Monteiro (Al-Nassr), Ruben Neves (Al-Hilal), Vitinha (Paris Saint-Germain), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Cristiano Ronaldo (Al-Nassr), Diogo Jota (Liverpool), Francisco Conceicao (Porto), Goncalo Ramos (Paris Saint-Germain), Joao Felix (Barcelona), Pedro Neto (Wolves), Rafael Leao (Milan).

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    Los Blancos secured their 15th success in the competition thanks to goals late in the game from Dani Carvajal and Vinicius Junior. 

    But Sabitzer played a starring role as Austria roared back from their defeat to France in their opening game of the competition, beating Poland 3-1 to bring it down to the final matchday. 

    Austria face the Netherlands in Berlin next Tuesday to conclude their Group D campaign, and know a win could see them finish top or second. 

    A draw or defeat could also leave Ralf Rangnick's side with a good chance of progressing as one of the four best third-placed teams. 

    "The possibilities then really open up," Sabitzer said.

    "I know that from the Champions League, especially this season. Once you're on a run in the knockout phase anything can happen.

    "The most important thing is to get through the group stage and into the round of 16 and then we'll see what happens next."

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    The 17-year-old, who officially joins Real Madrid next month, has scored three goals in his last four games for Brazil but knows he will have to remain patient for his opportunity at the Copa America. 

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    Costa Rica - Manfred Ugalde

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    The 22-year-old striker grabbed a goal and three assists in Costa Rica's CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers against Grenada and Saint Kitts and Nevis, and will be hoping to continue that form in Inglewood against Brazil. 

    MATCH PREDICTION: BRAZIL WIN

    Brazil and Costa Rica have faced each other twice in the Copa America, with both victories for the Brazilian team in 1997 (5-0) at the Estadio Ramon Tahuichi Aguilera and in 2004 (4-1) with Adriano scoring a hat-trick for Carlos Alberto Parreira's side. 

    The Selecao Canarinho have won 10 of their 11 meetings against their opponents, with their last defeat coming in the Panamerican Championship in March 1960 (3-0), with Brazil backed to continue their nine-game unbeaten run. 

    Costa Rica will look to continue their impressive record against CONMEBOL teams at the Copa America, having lost one of their last four matches against them (W2 D1).

    Gustavo Alfaro's side will seek to string together victories for the first time against CONMEBOL opponents in the competition, having defeated Colombia 3-2 in the 2016 edition.

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    Brazil - 71%

    Costa Rica - 16.1%

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