Roberto Martinez has opted to include Cristiano Ronaldo in his first-ever squad as he takes over Portugal’s head coach duties
Portugal’s new head coach Roberto Martinez has announced his first squad which includes Cristiano Ronaldo. Fernando Santos, who led the team for eight years, left after their elimination in the quarter-finals of the 2022 World Cup by Morocco.
During that tournament, Ronaldo fell out of favor with Santos and was benched for both knockout games against Switzerland and Morocco.
Martinez glad to have ‘experienced’ Ronaldo at Portugal
Roberto Martinez’s squad shows continuity, with only two players selected who did not feature in the World Cup.
Ronaldo, who joined Al Nassr in December, has scored eight goals in seven games so far for his new club. Martinez believes the 38-year-old forward can still play an important role for Portugal.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is a player who is very committed to the national team,” the Spaniard said. “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 an opportunity to help the team. He can transmit the experience of his career to the other players.”
Martinez is optimistic about the future of the Portuguese national team as they compete in Group J of the Euro 2024 qualifying campaign against Iceland, Slovakia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Liechtenstein, and Luxembourg.
“I want to build a team that shows the qualities of the players Portugal has,” he said. “This is a starting point. I see the quality, experience, youth, and players that play at home and also abroad. I’ve seen a lot of commitment from all of them for the national team.”
Portugal squad: Diogo Costa (Porto), Jose Sa (Wolves), Rui Patricio (Roma); Diogo Dalot (Manchester United), Joao Cancelo (Bayern Munich), Danilo Pereira, Nuno Mendes (both Paris Saint-Germain), Pepe (Porto), Ruben Dias (Manchester City), Antonio Silva (Benfica), Goncalo Inacio (Sporting CP), Diogo Leite (Union Berlin) Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund); Joao Palhinha (Fulham), Ruben Neves, Matheus Nunes (both Wolves), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), Joao Mario (Benfica), Otavio Monteiro (Porto), Vitinha (PSG); Cristiano Ronaldo (Al Nassr), Goncalo Ramos (Benfica), Joao Felix (Chelsea), Rafael Leao (Milan), Diogo Jota (Liverpool).