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regular-article-logo Saturday, 15 June 2024

European Championship 2024: Cristiano Ronaldo, veteran defender Pepe part of squad of Portugal

Ronaldo, who has scored in every Euro since his first appearance in 2004, has netted 14 goals in finals, he also scored 10 times in European qualifying matches last year

Reuters Lisbon Published 22.05.24, 10:43 AM
Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo

Portugal’s 39-year-old forward Cristiano Ronaldo will play in his sixth European Championship and veteran defender Pepe also made the cut as coach Roberto Martinez named his 26-man squad on Tuesday.

Ronaldo, who has scored in every Euro since his first appearance in 2004, has netted 14 goals in the finals. He also scored 10 times in European qualifying matches last year.

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Ronaldo now plays for Saudi Pro League side Al Nassr where he has scored 42 goals and provided 13 assists in all competitions.

“Cristiano? It’s better to talk about the data. He’s a player who’s scored 42 goals in 41 games for his club,” Martinez said. “That shows his continuity and physical ability to always be fit, as well as the quality he has in front of goal, which we really like and need.”

However, Ronaldo will not be the oldest member of the squad with Martinez also calling up Porto defender Pepe who turned 41 this year.

Pepe was an integral part of Porto’s team this year, making 38 appearances as they reached the Champions League last-16 stage and finished third in the league behind Sporting and Benfica.

“Pepe’s role in the dressing room is important, the way he represents the national team shirt,” Martinez added.

“And it was interesting to see Pepe play two games in March and keep a clean sheet for the 90 minutes he played. His communication, his positioning means that, when he’s fit, he’s a very important player.”

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