Nearly half Portugal's Euro squad to miss World Cup
Nearly half of Portugal's triumphant Euro 2016 squad will miss the World Cup after coach Fernando Santos made what he said were difficult choices in naming his final 23 for Russia on Thursday.
Centre forward Eder, who scored the winning goal in the Euro 2016 final against France, was among 10 players from that squad omitted from Santos's list.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal's all-time leading scorer and most-capped player, headed the list for the European champions, who face Spain, Morocco and Iran in a tricky first round group.
"It was extremely difficult to choose the 23. As a professional, I have to make decisions and I know that I'm not going to please everyone," Santos told a news conference.
"But, on the personal side, it hurts me to leave out players who took part in the European championship, and others who took part in the qualifiers and helped the team get this far.
"It was, of course, difficult to leave out Eder, Nani and others who wrote the most brilliant page in the history of Portuguese football. But I have to pick the ones who best complete the jigsaw."
"I can't say whether this squad is stronger than the one which played at the Euros," Santos said. "But I have absolute confidence in this squad just as I did in the other one."
Defenders: Bruno Alves (Rangers), Cedric Soares (Southampton), Jose Fonte (Dalian Yifang), Mario Rui (Napoli), Pepe (Besiktas), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund), Ricardo Pereira (Porto), Ruben Dias (Benfica)
Forwards: Andre Silva (Milan), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Gelson Martins (Sporting), Goncalo Guedes (Valencia), Ricardo Quaresma (Besiktas) (Reporting by Joseph Cassinelli and by Brian Homewood, editing by Pritha Sarkar and Ed Osmond)