Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Renato Sanches has been left out of Portugal’s World Cup squad, joining the country’s second-most capped player Joao Moutinho in missing out on the trip to Qatar.
Sanches has won 32 senior caps for Portugal since his 2016 debut and was named Young Player of the Tournament as Portugal clinched their first major trophy at the European Championship in France that year.
However, since swapping Lille for Ligue 1 rivals PSG this August, Sanches has struggled for game-time, starting just three matches in all competitions and playing a total of 427 minutes.
Fellow PSG midfielders Marco Verratti, Vitinha, Danilo Pereira, Fabian Ruiz, Pablo Sarabia and Carlos Soler have all made more starts this campaign, leaving Sanches out of Fernando Santos’ plans.
Sanches’ PSG team-mates Vitinha, Pereira and Nuno Mendes have all been included in Portugal’s squad for the tournament, where they will face Ghana, Uruguay and South Korea after being drawn into Group H.
Meanwhile, fellow midfielder Moutinho, whose tally of 146 Portugal caps is only bettered by Cristiano Ronaldo’s remarkable total of 191, has been overlooked in favour of Wolves team-mates Ruben Neves and Matheus Nunes.
Despite enduring a frustrating season with Manchester United, Ronaldo will captain Portugal in Qatar, where he will bid to become the first player to score at five separate World Cups.
The 37-year-old is one of just four players to hit the net at four separate editions of the tournament, alongside Pele, Uwe Seeler and Miroslav Klose.
However, all seven of Ronaldo’s World Cup goals have arrived in the group stage, making him the highest scoring player in the tournament’s history to fail to hit the net in the knockouts (in six such appearances).
Uma vez mais, prontos para elevar bem alto o nome de Portugal! São 26 os nomes na lista do Mister Fernando Santos, mas estamos todos convocados! Força Portugal!
— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano)
Portugal squad: Diogo Costa (Porto), Jose Sa (Wolves), Rui Patricio (Roma); Diogo Dalot (Manchester United), Joao Cancelo (Manchester City), Danilo Pereira (Paris Saint-Germain), Pepe (Porto), Ruben Dias (Manchester City), Antonio Silva (Benfica), Nuno Mendes (Paris Saint-Germain), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund); Joao Palhinha (Fulham), Ruben Neves (Wolves), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), Joao Mario (Benfica), Matheus Nunes (Wolves), Otavio (Porto), Vitinha (Paris Saint-Germain), William Carvalho (Real Betis); Andre Silva (RB Leipzig), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), Goncalo Ramos (Benfica), Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid), Rafael Leao (Milan), Ricardo Horta (Braga).