The defender put an end to what had been a remarkable career with Real Madrid last summer, joining Besiktas. While his departure did not necessarily end on good terms, Pepe will always be remembered for his aggression and the heart he put in the games for Real Madrid. Now 35, the World Cup is likely to be Pepe’s last participation in a major tournament. He will be keen to leave a mark on it.
4) William Carvalho
Sitting in front of the defenders, Carvalho is an old school no nonsense defensive midfielder. The midfielder plays the game with such calmness and ease that it looks like he is just strolling around on the pitch; however, it is only when one tries to study the game will he realise the impact Carvalho has on Portuguese’s style of play. The Sporting Lisbon player was a part of the turbulent season everyone around the club had with major internal problems leading to the suspension of as many as 19 first-team players before the decision was revoked. Therefore, the World Cup could also serve as an audition for a move abroad for Carvalho.
3) Joao Mario
The midfielder was one of the stars in the Euros when Portugal won their first ever major title. He was one of the few players to feature in each of the game during the championship. His fine form at the Euros earned him a move to Inter for a massive 40 million euros. While his start to life in Italy was impressive, under new manager Luciano Spalletti, Mario cut a frustrated figure with his lack of playing time. This January, he made the move to West Ham United as helped the Hammers in their relegation battle. A skilled midfielder, Mario will once again lineup in the starting XI as Portugal look to add another major honour.
2) Bernardo Silva
The former Monaco man has had a more than satisfying debut campaign in England, as Manchester City had a record breaking season. While Silva wasn’t the most prominent figure in the City starting XI, he regularly featured off the bench to make an impact. 6 goals and 4 assists in the Premier league is by no means a bad start to life. The diminutive winger will be a key figure with many expecting the kind of magic that would help when Ronaldo isn’t firing on all cylinders.
One of the greatest players the football world has ever seen, Ronaldo added the Euros to his glorious title cabinet as Portugal won their first ever major tournament. Though Ronaldo had to come off early in the final, he was still an influential from the side lines, motivating and guiding the players. The World Cup will likely be Ronaldo’s last given that now he is 33. The Real Madrid hitman once again proved his doubters wrong with some brilliant performances and incredible goals as Real once got their hands on the Champions league title. A World Cup winners’ medal will be a befitting end to a remarkable career.