Predicted Portugal squad against Ghana

The World Cup is now officially underway, but the Portugal tournament was already unnecessarily noisy the week before it kicked off.

Cristiano Ronaldo has set all eyes on his camp. Not only because it’s his last World Cup with his country, but because of his shocking interview with Piers Morgan that was released a week before Portugal took to the field in Qatar.

But with that out of the way and Manchester United likely having changed all the locks at Carrington while Ronaldo is gone, Portugal must step back and focus on round one against Ghana on November 24.

Fernando Santos’ squad boasts a huge amount of talent, so a successful start is vital. Here’s how they can line up.

Bruno Fernandez

The face of a man playing with a teammate who made his day job somewhat embarrassing…/Carlos Rodriguez/GettyImages

GK: Diogo Costa – A changing of the guard occurs between the sticks. Costa has been fantastic with Porto this season and could dethrone Rui Patricio as the top seed in the tournament. A good presentation can be the key to securing a high profile conversion.

Right back: Joao Cancelo – It has not been the most elegant season so far for Cancelo, who has struggled somewhat in the Manchester City shirt. But given his incredible ball-handling quality, he could potentially get the nod at right-back. Seriously, what happened to the two apparitions?

CB: Ruben Dias – Alongside Cancelo is his City teammate, and oftentimes captain, Dias, who himself hasn’t been vital at club level this season. He is very important to his national team and has already established himself as a leader.

CB: Baby – It’s not a major championship without this guy. Pepe continues to prove he is timeless and will undoubtedly make his mark at the World Cup with an age-defying statement and appearance somewhere down the line.

Left-back: Nuno Mendes – Mendes has impressed at PSG this season and has given Portugal balance and attack on the left wing, complementing Cancelo well.

Name: Ruben Neves – Another player who may be using the tournament as a means of securing a transfer, Neves will sit at the base of the Portugal national team and play a vital role; Pinging balls toward a 37-year-old up front.

Name: William Carvalho – When Neves isn’t filling that deep role, it’s Carvalho who’s set to represent his country at his third World Cup finals. His first international goal came in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

Name: Bruno Fernandes – Completing the midfield trident is United’s talisman, who admits he struggles somewhat when asked to play a deeper role in midfield. Fernandez is in form again this season, and he’s able to win matches on his own when he’s at his best.

RW: Andre Silva – Silva scored the thousandth goal in the history of the national team in preparation for the 2018 World Cup, but he struggled in front of the goal this season. Santos likes to spread his big guns but can find space as a tight right winger.

Attacker: Cristiano Ronaldo – Enter said 37 years. The truth is, Portugal should use Ronaldo in a limited capacity – most likely off the bench – and put their faith in more young players *cough* Joao Felix. But that simply won’t happen. Get ready for some Ronaldo ball 2022; Painful hour.

LW: Rafael Leao – Please Ronaldo, whatever you do, stay out of Liao’s way. Excuse me. Let Milan’s finest asset show the world exactly why he is so highly regarded. Leao is an absolute danger with the ball at his feet and space to run with – he can shine this tournament.

David Goldblatt and Katie Rudd join the Ahern guys for a climate soccer talk about the World Cup in Qatar!

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