World Cup: Nani joins Cristiano Ronaldo on Portugal's final 23-man roster for Brazil
Now the US know exactly who they’re up against.
Portugal coach Paulo Bento on Monday finalized the 23-man squad he will take to next month’s World Cup. As expected, joining the star-studded group led by Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo is Madrid's notorious center back Pepe, Lazio's Hélder Postiga and tricky Manchester United winger Nani.
Nani’s addition is a bit of a surprise, considering his injury-plagued season during which he made just 12 appearances for the Red Devils.
''Nani had a problem up until March, but he's improved and he's been training normally since then,'' Bento told the media.
Nani's inclusion came at the expense of Ricardo Quaresma, who joined FC Porto in January. The 30-year-old winger has 35 caps but hasn't made a senior-team appearance in nearly two years.
Another surprise was Braga midfielder Rafa, who has just one cap.
Midfielder William Carvalho, regarded as one of Portugal's promising newcomers, was also included. He has made just two appearances for Portugal.
Ronaldo, who has recently battled injury issues, will be assessed by Portugal’s staff after Saturday’s Champions League final against Atlético Madrid in Lisbon, Bento said.
''We will work out a plan to get him ready in time for the World Cup,'' Bento said.
Most of the squad is due to gather Wednesday. Portugal, one of the American’s Group G opponents, will play three warm-up games before starting the tournament, including a date with Mexico at Gillette Stadium on June 6 and then against Ireland on June 10 at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
After opening against Germany on June 16 in Salvador, Portugal take on the USA in Manaus on June 22 before closing out against Ghana on June 26.
André Almeida (Benfica - Portugal / 23yrs)
Bruno Alves (Fenerbahce - Turkey / 32yrs)
Fábio Coentrão (Real Madrid - Spain / 26yrs)
João Pereira (Valencia - Spain / 30yrs)
Luis Neto (Zenit St. Petersburg - Russia / 25yrs)
Pepe (Real Madrid - Spain / 31yrs)
Ricardo Costa (Valencia - Spain / 33yrs)
João Moutinho (Mónaco - France / 27yrs)
Miguel Veloso (Dynamo Kiev - Ukraine / 28yrs)
Raul Meireles (Fenerbahce - Turkey / 31yrs)
Rúben Amorim (Benfica - Portugal / 29yrs)
William Carvalho (Sporting Lisbon - Portugal / 22yrs)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid - Spain / 29yrs)
Éder (SC Braga - Portugal / 26yrs)
Hélder Postiga (Lazio - Italy / 31yrs)
Hugo Almeida (Besiktas - Turkey / 29yrs)
Nani (Manchester United - England / 27yrs)
Rafa (SC Braga - Portugal / 20yrs)
Silvestre Varela (FC Porto - Portugal / 29yrs)
Vieirinha (Wolfsburg - Germany / 28yrs)