Portugal coach Santos picks 5 new players
LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal coach Fernando Santos started his makeover of the national team by naming five new players and recalling three veterans to play alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in his first squad selection on Friday.
Santos took over from Paulo Bento last month and is trying to turn around Portugal’s recent dip in form, which included a 1-0 loss to Albania in its opening European Championship qualifier and a disappointing first-round exit at the World Cup.
As he did with Greece, which he led to the second round at the World Cup, the 59-year-old Santos placed his hopes on talented youngsters as he picked defenders Jose Fonte, Cedric and Ivo Pinto, and midfielders Adrien Silva and Joao Mario, who have never played for Portugal.
He also recalled three players in their 30s — Tiago, Danny and Ricardo Carvalho. Santos coaxed Tiago out of his international retirement, while Danny and Carvalho had fallen out of favor with Bento.
Santos is under an eight-game international touchline ban for misconduct at the World Cup. FIFA banned him in August for verbally abusing match officials in Brazil. Santos said his lawyers are preparing an appeal against the ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Portugal plays a friendly against France in Paris on Oct. 11 and a Euro 2016 qualifier against Denmark in Copenhagen three days later.
Goalkeepers: Rui Patricio (Sporting Lisbon), Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Beto (Seville)
Defenders: Bruno Alves (Fenerbahce), Cedric (Sporting Lisbon), Eliseu (Benfica) Fabio Coentrao (Real Madrid), Pepe (Real Madrid), Antunes (Malaga), Jose Fonte (Southampton), Ivo Pinto (Dynamo Zagreb), Ricardo Carvalho (Monaco)
Midfielders: William Carvalho (Sporting Lisbon), Adrien Silva (Sporting Lisbon), Joao Mario (Sporting Lisbon), Joao Moutinho (Monaco), Andre Gomes (Valencia), Tiago (Atletico Madrid)
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Nani (Sporting Lisbon), Vieirinha (Wolfsburg), Ricardo Quaresma (FC Porto), Eder (Braga), Danny (Zenit St. Petersburg)