Lets kick-off this week with Portugals 23 man World Cup squad which has been announced by coach , Paulo Bento. The full squad is as follows:
GOALKEEPERS: Beto ( Sevilla ) , Eduardo ( Braga ) , Rui Patricio (Sporting )
DEFENDERS: Andre Almeida ( Benfica ) , Bruno Alves ( Fenerbache ) , Fabio Coentrão ( Real Madrid ) , João Pereira ( Valencia ) , Neto ( Zenit ) , Pepe ( Real Madrid ) , Ricardo Costa ( Valencia )
MIDFIELDERS: João Moutinho ( Monaco ) , Miguel Veloso ( D.Kiev) , Raul Meireles ( Fenerbache ) , Rúben Amorim ( Benfica ) , William Carvalho ( Sporting )
FORWARDS: Cristiano Ronaldo ( Real Madrid ) , Éder ( Braga ) , Hélder Postiga ( Lazio ) , Hugo Almeida ( Besiktas ) , Nani ( Manchester United ) , Rafa ( Braga ) , Varela ( FC Porto ) , Vierinha ( Wolfsburg )
The omission of Ricardo Quaresma , while the inclusion of Rafa were the major talking points , post announcement. The talented Quaresma will end his career having never played for Portugal at a World Cup. Braga striker Éder has recovered in time for the plane to Brazil and much needed , especially given the fitness over Helder Postiga who has endured an injury filled season at Lazio.
Portugal have friendly internationals versus Greece ( 31 May ) , Mexico ( 6 June ) and finally versus Rep. Ireland ( 10 June ) before arriving at their base in Campinas, São Paulo on 11 June.
Congratulations to the Real Madrid trio of Pepe , Fabio Coentrão and Cristiano Ronaldo and achieving the much sought after “decima” following a 4-1 ( after extra-time ) win over Atletico in 2013/14 Champions League Final played in Lisbon. Ronaldo scored Real’s final goal , but it was evident that he was not 100% fit. Pepe did not play as he recovers from injury , and lets hope for a full recovery from the duo in time for the World Cup.
A final word on Cristiano Ronaldo , who this season won the following :
Copa del Rey Winner
Champions League Winner
Golden boot Winner
Ballon d’Or Winner
La Liga top scorer ( 31 Goals in 30 appearances )
Champions League top scorer ( a record 17 goals in 11 appearances )
Incredible stats and long may it continue for the #1 footballer on the planet.