“I started preparing a list with 55 names on it, and it was not easy, so imagine what it’s like having to choose 26,” coach Fernando Santos told reporters. “It’s very difficult, fortunately, for Portugal and for me."
“What would be bad would be having to select 26 but only having 20 or so players to choose from. It’s a headache, but it’s a good headache.”
As a report from Goal highlights: “Portugal's defence is well-established, but beyond that, it's chaos.”
Perhaps the hardest decision of al for Santos has to be choosing between Cristiano Ronaldo, Andre Silva and João Felix – and everyone has an opinion on this one.
Goal points out though: “Ronaldo, 37, is no longer a regular club starter at Manchester United despite the squad carrying few strong options at striker. Erik ten Hag has shattered the notion that Ronaldo is untouchable. And the five-time Ballon d'Or winner, to his credit, has spent the past few weeks quietly committed to his new role as an early season mess at Old Trafford improves."
“International line-up calls are often more sentimental, but Santos still kept Ronaldo on the bench in June to begin a Nations League draw against Spain. Afterwards, the manager boldly declared the move was tactical rather than fitness-related.”
"Cristiano Ronaldo? They often ask why he is a starter. It's the million-dollar question," Santos told reporters. "It was a technical and tactical option for this game. It seemed to us the best solution. For the way we wanted to play and approach the game. It has nothing to do with Cristiano's quality – that's not even in question."
Goal concludes: “Santos would need a very solid reason to bench one of the greatest players of all time. It would be a career-defining management decision that could alienate millions of fans. While he seems potentially open to the idea, the alternatives aren't doing enough yet to force his hand.”