Cristiano Ronaldo says he is “ready to raise the name of Portugal very high” after being named in Fernando Santos’ World Cup squad.
The 37-year-old is set to become only the fifth player to feature at five finals in what many feel will be his final appearance on the world’s biggest stage. Having won every big honour in European club football, the World Cup is the only international prize that has evaded him.
Portugal lifted the 2016 Euros trophy before clasping hands on the inaugural Nations League in 2019, but the furthest they have gone at a World Cup with Ronaldo in the side has been the semi-finals of Germany 2006.
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The superstar has an all-time international record of 117 goals for his country with seven of these coming in World Cup matches. He will be hoping to fire in more as his country navigates a tricky Group H that contains Uruguay, Ghana and South Korea.
Taking to Instagram, Ronaldo delivered a message when his selection was confirmed. He said: “Once again, ready to raise the name of Portugal very high! There are 26 names on Mister Fernando Santos’ list, but we’re all summoned! Go Portugal!”
He will have fellow Manchester United teammates Bruno Fernandes – his second World Cup – and Diogo Dalot – his first – alongside him, most likely in the starting XI.
Premier League stars Joao Cancelo, Ruben Dias, Bernardo Silva (all of Manchester City), Ruben Neves, Jose Sa, Matheus Nunes (all of Wolves) and João Palhinha (Fulham) also make the cut, as does Atletico Madrid striker Joao Felix and AC Milan hero Rafael Leao.
While not among the strong favourites, Portugal are considered dark horses for the trophy. Lionel Messi’s Argentina are tipped as one of the most likely sides to go all the way in what is also expected to be the attacker’s last World Cup appearance, marking the end of an epic era between two greats of the game.