Cristiano Ronaldo is joined by two of his Real Madrid colleagues in Portugal’s 30-man provisional World Cup squad, which features four players from all-conquering domestic champions Benfica.
Ronaldo, whose hat-trick in the play-off against Sweden saw his country to the finals, will continue to carry their hopes on his shoulders against Germany, Ghana and the United States in Group G.
Real defenders Pepe and Fabio Coentrao will make the journey with him as part of a seven-strong contingent from Spain’s Primera Division.
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Eleven come from the domestic league, including Benfica quartet Ruben Amorim, Andre Gomes, Andre Almeida and Ivan Cavaleiro. The Eagles won the league by seven points and have Europa League and Taca de Portugal finals to come.
Monaco’s Joao Moutinho will be expected to provide the creative spark from central midfield alongside Miguel Veloso and Raul Meireles, while Sporting’s William Carvalho and Manchester United’s Nani are among the other notable names, the latter being the only representative of the English Premier League.
Coach Paulo Bento plans to cut his squad down to 23 on May 19 ahead of their Brazil 2014 campaign. The Portuguese are in Group G with Germany, USA and Ghana, and will kick-off their tournament against the Germans on 16 June in Salvador.