A superb XI of great players left out of Portugal’s 2022 World Cup squad

Portugal might have flown under the radar this year, despite the best attempts of Cristiano Ronaldo, because their squad depth is absolutely ridiculous.

As their astonishingly good 6-1 victory over Switzerland demonstrated, Portugal currently boast one of the best squads at the 2022 World Cup and are surely among the contenders to go on and win it.

We’ve looked into their squad and compiled an amazing XI that have been left behind by Fernando Santos.

GK: Anthony Lopes

Lyon shot-stopper Anthony Lopes has been part of the Portugal squad since 2015 and has usually played back-up to Rui Patricio.

The 32-year-old has lost his place in the squad recently though with Jose Sa and Diogo Costa selected ahead of him.

RB: Nelson Semedo

Portugal are just as stacked at right-back as England have been.

Former Barcelona man Nelson Semedo was always going to find it tough to get ahead of Joao Cancelo and Diogo Dalot wasn’t he?

Now playing for Wolves, he has struggled for form as of late. Being sent off against Brighton probably didn’t enhance his chances either.

CB: Jose Fonte

If Pepe can still do a job for Portugal at 39, then so can Jose Fonte at 38.

Fonte was a key player for Portugal in their Euro 2016 triumph and is still doing the business for Lille in Ligue 1 these days.

QUIZ: Can you name Portugal’s XI from Ronaldo’s competitive debut, 2004?

CB: Goncalo Inacio

Perhaps 2022 came a little too soon for Goncalo Inacio, but he has a hell of a future ahead of him.

The 21-year-old has been a regular in the Sporting Lisbon team since he was a teenager. He has progressed through the international youth ranks of Portugal but is yet to receive a senior cap.

LB: Ricardo Pereira

There was a time when Ricardo Pereira was ranked among the best full-backs in the Premier League.

The problem is that he cannot stay fit. Since the 2019-20 season he has missed 59 matches through being injured and is currently out with an Achilles tendon rupture.

CM: Joao Moutinho

Joao Moutinho has been a veteran of the Portugal side over the years, racking up 146 caps in total.

He even featured for Portugal in the Nations League just a few months ago. Santos made the bald call to not take the 36-year-old and instead opted for some younger players.

CM: Renato Sanches

Perhaps a move to sit on PSG’s bench wasn’t the wisest of choices with a World Cup coming up. Renato Sanches has only started two league matches this season and was subsequently snubbed by the national side.

Still, we’ll always fondly remember the time he passed the ball to an advertising board.

CAM: Fabio Vieira

Fabio Vieira’s time will come eventually.

The 22-year-old has been in and out of the Arsenal squad so far this season. The majority of his appearances have come in the Europa League and he already has four goal contributions for the Gunners.

RW: Pedro Neto / Daniel Podence / Goncalo Guedes

Take your pick on the right-hand side because all three Wolves wingers were snubbed.

Let’s face it, Wolves have been pretty naff this season. They currently sit bottom of the Premier League and have only managed to score eight goals in 15 matches.

It’s probably not a massive surprise that none of their forwards got the call-up.

LW: Jota 

Celtic’s Jota can count himself as unfortunate that he didn’t make the cut. The 23-year-old was involved in Portugal’s initial 55-man squad but did not make the final team.

After an impressive 2021-22 campaign, he has continued his impressive form this season. With seven goals and six assists to his name, the Celtic star just missed out to the likes of Ricardo Horta and Otavio.

ST: Diogo Jota

Without a doubt, the biggest omission from the Portugal squad is Liverpool’s Diogo Jota.

The 25-year-old was a shoo-in for the squad before he picked up calf injury which ruled him out of action. He scored 21 goals for Liverpool last season across all competitions and will be a huge miss for Santos’ squad.

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