Despite falling out of favour with previous coach Fernando Santos in the World Cup knockout stages, Cristiano Ronaldo is back for Portugal.
Cristiano Ronaldo has been named in the first Portugal squad announced by new head coach Roberto Martinez.
The former Belgium boss replaces Fernando Santos, who called time on his eight-year stint at the helm following Portugal’s 2022 World Cup quarter-final exit at the hands of Morocco.
Santos benched Ronaldo for both knockout games in Qatar – a comprehensive 6-1 win over Switzerland and a 1-0 loss to the Atlas Lions.
Ahead of the Euro 2024 qualifying campaign, Martinez opted for continuity with only two players selected for the matches against Liechtenstein and Luxembourg not participating in the World Cup.
Ronaldo joined Saudi Arabian side Al Nassr in December after his Manchester United contract expired, scoring eight goals in seven games so far and Martinez believes the 38-year-old can still be an important figure for his country.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is a player who is very dedicated to the national team,” said the Spaniard. “A player like Cristiano brings experience, he is an important figure in the team. I don’t look at age or other aspects.
“I think Cristiano has the opportunity to help the team and pass on the experience of his career to the other players.
Portugal will compete in Group J of the Euro 2024 qualifiers alongside Iceland, Slovakia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg and Martinez is optimistic about the Selecao’s future.
“I want to build a team that shows the quality of players that Portugal has,” he said. “This is the starting point. I see the quality, the experience, the youth, the players who play at home and away. I saw a lot of commitment from all of them for the national team.”
Goalkeepers: Diogo Costa (FC Porto), Jose Sa (Wolverhampton), Rui Patricio (AS Roma).
Defenders: Diogo Dalot (Man United), Joao Cancelo (Bayern), Danilo Pereira and Nuno Mendes (PSG), Pepe (FC Porto), Ruben Dias (Manchester City), Antonio Silva (Benfica), Goncalo Inacio (Sporting), Diogo Leite (Union Berlin) and Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund).
Midfielders: Joao Palhinha (Fulham), Ruben Neves and Matheus Nunes (Wolverhampton), Bernardo Silva (Man City), Bruno Fernandes (Man United), Joao Mario (Benfica), Otavio Monteiro (FC Porto) and Vitinha (PSG).
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Al Nassr), Goncalo Ramos (Benfica), Joao Felix (Chelsea), Rafael Leao (Milan) and Diogo Jota (Liverpool).