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Why Renato Sanches is left behind Portugal World Cup team

The midfielder was a Euro 2016 winner with his nation but cannot find a place among the 35 called up for Russia.

Renato Sanches is a sensational absence for Portugal in the 2018 World Cup, failing to find a place even among the Euro 2016 winner’s preliminary 35-man squad announced on Monday.

Sanches played six out of seven games as an 18-year-old in France as the side led by Cristiano Ronaldo took their first-ever international title.

But he has failed to shine at either Bayern Munich or Swansea City since then, and will play no part in manager Fernando Santos’ squad for the World Cup finals.

Unsurprisingly Selecao captain Ronaldo is included among the call-ups, while there is also a place for veteran playmaker Ricardo Quaresma.

Ronaldo likely will not in action when Portugal takes to the field in a friendly against Tunisia on May 28, which is two days after Real Madrid’s Champions League final against Liverpool in Kiev. It is the first of three friendlies for the Selecao, who then battle Belgium on June 2 and Algeria on June 6 to close out their World Cup preparations.

The nation will then square off in Group B at the World Cup, which opens with a match up against Iberian neighbors Spain on June 15, followed by game against nearby Morocco on June 20. The nation ends its group stage against Iran on June 25.

While Santos has named a full 35-man preliminary roster, he is expected to quickly cut his side down to the 23 he plans to take to Russia in the next few days.

Portugal preliminary squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Beto (Goztepe), Rui Patrício (Sporting)

Defenders: Antunes (Getafe), Bruno Alves (Rangers), Cédric Soares (Southampton), João Cancelo (Inter), José Fonte (Dalian Yifang), Luís Neto (Fenerbahçe), Mário Rui (Nápoles), Nélson Semedo (Barcelona), Pepe (Besiktas), Raphael Guerreiro (Dortmund), Ricardo Pereira (FC Porto), Rolando (Marselha) e Rúben Dias (Benfica)

Midfielders: Adrien Silva (Leicester), André Gomes (Barcelona), Bruno Fernandes (Sporting), João Mário (West Ham), João Moutinho (Mónaco), Manuel Fernandes (Lokomotiv), Rúben Neves (Wolverhampton), Sérgio Oliveira (FC Porto), William Carvalho (Sporting)

Forwards:André Silva (Milan), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Éder (Lokomotiv), Gelson Martins (Sporting), Gonçalo Guedes (Valência), Nani (Lazio), Paulinho (SC Braga), Ricardo Quaresma (Besiktas), Ronny Lopes (Mónaco)

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