Nani has been included in Portugal‘s World Cup squad despite an injury-hit season during which he made only 12 appearances for Manchester United. Portugal’s coach, Paulo Bento, on Monday announced the 23-man squad he will take to Brazil, with the main surprise being the choice of the Braga midfielder Rafa, who has just one cap.
Nani has had a disappointing year because of injuries and poor form but Bento said the 27-year-old winger has shaken off the problems that helped keep him sidelined. “Nani had a problem up until March but he’s improved and he’s been training normally since then,” he said.
He said he picked the 21-year-old Rafa because he can play either in midfield or attack. Rafa has previously played half a friendly game against Cameroon.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who has recently had injury problems at Real Madrid, will be assessed by the Portuguese medical team after Saturday’s Champions League final against Atlético Madrid in Lisbon, Bento said.
“We will work out a plan to get him ready in time for the World Cup,” Bento said.
The midfielder William Carvalho, regarded as one of Portugal’s promising newcomers, was also included. Like Ronaldo and Nani, Carvalho is a product of Sporting Lisbon’s youth academy. He has made two appearances for Portugal.
Bento has selected just two members of the Benfica team that won the domestic treble in Portugal, picking the defender André Almeida and midfielder Ruben Amorim.
Goalkeepers: Beto (Sevilla), Eduardo (Braga), Rui Patrício (Sporting).
Defenders: Andre Almeida (Benfica), Bruno Alves (Fenerbahce), Fabio Coentrao (Real Madrid), Joao Pereira (Valencia), Neto (Zenit St Petersburg), Pepe (Real Madrid), Ricardo Costa (Valencia).
Midfielders: Joao Moutinho (Monaco), Miguel Veloso (Dynamo Kiev), Raul Meireles (Fenerbahce), Ruben Amorim (Benfica), William Carvalho (Sporting Lisbon), Rafa (Braga).
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Eder (Braga), Helder Postiga (Lazio), Hugo Almeida (Besiktas), Nani (Manchester United), Varela (FC Porto), Vieirinha (Wolfsburg).
A Freelance Journalist, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Editor-in-Chief of www.233times.com. A contributory writer for Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper. An alumnus of Adisadel College where he read General Arts. He holds first degree in Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ghana; Political Science (major) and History (minor). He has also pursued MSc Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Energy with Public Relations (PR) at the Robert Gordon University in the United Kingdom. He is a 2018 Mandela Washington Fellow (YALI) who studied at Clark Atlanta University on the Business and Entrepreneurship track. His mentors are Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, Sam Jonah, Kwaku Sakyi Addo and Piers Morganview all posts by: Nana Kwesi Coomson
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