Portugal manager Paulo Bento has reluctantly revealed his provisional 30-man squad for the World Cup, and has provided out-of-form Manchester United winger Luis Nani to prove he is worthy of an inclusion in the final 23. Also named is William Carvalho, linked with a summer transfer to either Liverpool or Manchester United, despite the youngster having earned only two caps previously.
Cristiano Ronaldo, of course, heads up the list of names announced, with the Real Madrid superstar set to captain his country in Brazil. Ronaldo’s goals propelled Portugal into the finals, with a hat-trick in Sweden ensuring he and not Zlatan Ibrahimovic would be primed to star at the World Cup.
Other prominent players to have been picked by Bento are Ronaldo’s teammate at Real Madrid, the temperamental Pepe, along with Fabio Coentrao and Joao Moutinho of Monaco. But the most eye-catching inclusion remains that of Carvalho, who has enjoyed an excellent season with Sporting.
The 22-year-old’s performances have led to links with both Manchester United and Liverpool, with the former initially having been credited with finalising a deal to bring Carvalho to Old Trafford. Liverpool, however, have now been placed as the frontrunners, with Brendan Rodgers reported to be prepared to pay £30 million to lure the player to Anfield.
Portugal’s provisional squad for the 2014 World Cup…
Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Beto (Sevilla), Eduardo (SC Braga), Rui Patrício (Sporting)
Defenders: André Almeida (Benfica), Antunes (Málaga), Bruno Alves (Fenerbahçe), Fábio Coentrão (Real Madrid), João Pereira (Valencia), Neto (Zenit), Pepe (Real Madrid), Ricardo Costa (Valência), Rolando (Inter).
Midfielders: André Gomes (Benfica), João Mário (Vitória FC), João Moutinho (Monaco), Miguel Veloso (D. Kiev), Raul Meireles (Fenerbahçe), Rúben Amorim (Benfica), William Carvalho (Sporting).
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Éder (SC Braga), Postiga (Lazio), Hugo Almeida (Besiktas), Ivan Cavaleiro (Benfica), Nani (Manchester United), Rafa (SC Braga), Ricardo Quaresma (FC Porto), Varela (FC Porto), Vieirinha (Wolfsburg).