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Uncapped Goncalves called up by holders Portugal for Euro 2020

Sporting Lisbon youngster Pedro Goncalves was handed a maiden Portugal call-up as coach Fernando Santos named his 26-man squad for Euro 2020 on Thursday.

The reigning champions will be led by Cristiano Ronaldo, who is just six goals short of Iranian Ali Daei’s all-time international record of 103 goals and level with Michel Platini’s record mark of nine European Championship strikes.

The 22-year-old Goncalves has been rewarded for his impressive club form this season.

He scored a league-leading 23 Primeira Liga goals to help Sporting win their first Portuguese title since 2002.

“I think he can give the national team what he gave this season to Sporting,” said Santos. “He is here for his quality, because that is my first criterion.”

Goncalves will face a tough task to get into the starting XI, though, with Ronaldo, Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva, Joao Felix and Liverpool forward Diogo Jota, despite currently being sidelined with an injury, all making the cut.

“We are candidates to win the title. I leave with the same conviction (as in 2016) that Portugal can win this championship,” said the 66-year-old Santos in a press conference.

Veteran Porto centre-back Pepe, 38, is also in the squad despite not having played for his country since October last year.

Portugal open their title defence against Hungary in Budapest on June 15, before facing Germany in Munich four days later.

They round off their Group F campaign against France at the Puskas Arena, in a repeat of the Euro 2016 final.

Santos has kept faith with Wolves midfielders Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves, with Renato Sanches, whose Lille side could win the Ligue 1 title on Sunday, likely to line up alongside them.

Portugal Euro 2020 squad:

Goalkeepers (3): Rui Patricio (Wolves/ENG), Anthony Lopes (Lyon/FRA), Rui Silva (Grenada/ESP)

Defenders (7): Joao Cancelo (Manchester City/ENG), Nelson Semedo (Wolves/ENG), Jose Fonte (Lille/FRA), Ruben Dias (Manchester City/ENG), Pepe (FC Porto), Nuno Mendes (Sporting Lisbon), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund/GER)

Midfielders (9): Danilo Pereira (Paris SG/FRA), Joao Palhinha (Sporting Lisbon), Ruben Neves (Wolves/ENG), Joao Moutinho (Wolves/ENG), Renato Sanches (Lille/FRA), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United/ENG), Sergio Oliveira (FC Porto), William Carvalho (Real Betis/ESP), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City/ENG)

Forwards (7): Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus/ITA), Diogo Jota (Liverpool/ENG), Rafa Silva (Benfica), Andre Silva (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER), Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Gonçalo Guedes (Valencia/ESP), Pedro Goncalves (Sporting Lisbon)

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