It is no surprise that Portugal’s coach Paulo Bento has selected Cristiano Ronaldo to be part of the National Football Team, which will represent the country in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil next month.
Even though the Real Madrid striker and top La Liga scorer has been suffering from some injuries of late, nobody really thought that the number one player in the world in 2014 and winner of the FIFA Ballon d’Or would not be capped to play for the European country.
It is widely expected that Ronaldo will be named captain, as the most successful player to come from the island nation and one of the most admired players in the world.
Ronaldo missed Real Madrid’s last match against Celta Vigo — a crucial absence — which “Los Blancos” lost 0-2, resulting in their elimination from La Liga’s title run.
It was clear that without Cristiano and Gareth Bale, Carlo Ancelotti’s team lacked the inspiration and creativity required to continue their pursuit of the Spanish title.
Cristiano Ronaldo and his teammates have been placed in the so-called “Group of Death” — Group G — which also includes the always powerful Germany, Ghana, and the US. Most expect that both European nations will move ahead to the round of 16.
Both, Real Madrid’s coach, Carlo Ancelotti and Bento, expect that Ronaldo will be fit to play for his upcoming international matches.
But before Cristiano can even begin to think about the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Real Madrid has a very important date with Atletico Madrid, when both Spanish teams meet in the UEFA Champions League final on May 24. Real is looking to win “la decima” (their tenth title).
Portugal’s provisional 30-player squad looks like this:
Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Olympique Lyon), Beto (Sevilla), Eduardo (Braga), Rui Patrício (Sporting)
Defenders: Andre Almeida (Benfica), Antunes (Malaga), Bruno Alves (Fenerbahce), Fabio Coentreo (Real Madrid), Joao Pereira (Valencia), Neto (Zenit St Petersburg), Pepe (Real Madrid), Ricardo Costa (Valencia), Rolando (Inter Milan)
Midfeidlers: Andre Gomes (Benfica), Joao Mario (Vitoria Setubal), Joao Moutinho (Monaco), Miguel Veloso (Dynamo Kiev), Raul Meireles (Fenerbahce), Ruben Amorim (Benfica), William Carvalho (Sporting)
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Eder (Braga), Helder Postiga (Lazio), Hugo Almeida (Besiktas), Ivan Cavaleiro (Benfica), Nani (Manchester United), Rafa (Braga), Ricardo Quaresma (Porto), Varela (Porto), Vieirinha (VfL Wolfsburg)
Cristiano Ronaldo was capped for Portugal for the first time on August 20, 2003 in a match against Kazakhstan. To date, he has 110 appearances — including the 2006 and 2010 World Cups — and 49 goals wearing his country’s jersey. It has been reported that Ronaldo will be protected by four bodyguards at the tournament.