2013 FIFA World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo has been called up to lead Portugal in their campaign for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Finals. The 30-man provisional squad has been released ahead of the team's training sessions.
The Real Madrid Superstar's fitness was in doubt after picking up a series of injuries. Ronaldo was rested ahead of his club's semi-final against Bayern Munich and then was stretchered off during a La Liga match against Valladolid on May 7. He has since been left out of the La Liga match presumably in preparation for the Champions League final on May 24.
Cristiano, having won the Ballon d'Or and who has been in great form as of late was always an obvious choice to be selected but Portugal Team Manager Paulo Bento will now have to cross his fingers that his star player will be in top shape in time for Brazil.
Joining Ronaldo are Real Madrid teammates Fabio Coentrao and Pepe,
Bento also included the Porto winger Ricardo Quaresma in his provisional squad. The 30-year-old former Barcelona player rejoined Porto in January after six months out of the game following his departure from Dubai's Al-Ahli last year.
Manchester United wideman, Nani and former Liverpool and Chelsea man Raul Meireles, currently playing for Fenerbahce, have also been selected.
With the best player in the world leading the team, the question remains as to whether the team backing him up can pull through for him It can be remembered that Portugal almost didn't qualify for the finals in Brazil and had to win in a do-or-die match against Sweden before securing their spot.
Portugal will be facing Germany, USA and Ghana in Group G when the tournament kicks off next month.
Provisional 30-man squad:
Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Olympique Lyon), Beto (Sevilla), Eduardo (Braga), Rui Patrício (Sporting)
Defenders: Andre Almeida (Benfica), Antunes (Malaga), Bruno Alves (Fenerbahce), Fabio Coentreo (Real Madrid), Joao Pereira (Valencia), Neto (Zenit St Petersburg), Pepe (Real Madrid), Ricardo Costa (Valencia), Rolando (Inter Milan)
Midfielders: Andre Gomes (Benfica), Joao Mario (Vitoria Setubal), Joao Moutinho (Monaco), Miguel Veloso (Dynamo Kiev), Raul Meireles (Fenerbahce), Ruben Amorim (Benfica), William Carvalho (Sporting)
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Eder (Braga), Helder Postiga (Lazio), Hugo Almeida (Besiktas), Ivan Cavaleiro (Benfica), Nani (Manchester United), Rafa (Braga), Ricardo Quaresma (Porto), Varela (Porto), Vieirinha (VfL Wolfsburg)