Soccer-Jota returns to Portugal squad, Ronaldo also included for Euro qualifiers

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Liverpool v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Anfield, Liverpool, Britain - March 1, 2023 Liverpool's Diogo Jota celebrates after Virgil van Dijk scores their first goal REUTERS/Phil Noble

(Reuters) - Portugal have recalled Diogo Jota to their squad after the forward missed the World Cup through injury while Cristiano Ronaldo was also included on Friday by new coach Roberto Martinez for their Euro 2024 qualifiers this month.

Portugal host Liechtenstein on Thursday and visit Luxembourg on March 26 in their first two Group J matches.

Jota is available to play for Portugal for the first time since September after picking up a calf injury in a Premier League match with Liverpool in October.

Ronaldo, 38, is included in the squad after former Portugal coach Fernando Santos started with him on the bench for the country's last two games at the World Cup in Qatar, where they were knocked out by Morocco in the quarter-finals.

"Cristiano Ronaldo is a very committed player, a player like him can bring experience and is very important for the team. I don't look to the age, I don't look to other aspects," Belgian Martinez told a news conference on Friday.

Ronaldo, who moved to Saudi Arabian side Al-Nassr after the World Cup, holds the record for most goals in international football with 118. He has scored eight goals so far in the Saudi top flight, including two hat-tricks.

The 40-year-old defender Pepe, who has 133 caps, is also in Martinez's squad along with Union Berlin defender Diogo Leite, who could make his debut for the senior national team.


Goalkeepers: Diogo Costa (Porto), Jose Sa (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Rui Patricio (AS Roma).

Defenders: Joao Cancelo (Bayern Munich), Pepe (Porto), Ruben Dias (Manchester City), Antonio Silva (Benfica), Goncalo Inacio (Sporting Lisbon), Diogo Leite (Union Berlin) Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund), Diogo Dalot (Manchester United), Danilo Pereira and Nuno Mendes (Paris St Germain).

Midfielders: Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), Joao Mario (Benfica), Otavio Monteiro (Porto), Vitinha (Paris St Germain), Joao Palhinha (Fulham), Ruben Neves and Matheus Nunes (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Al-Nassr), Goncalo Ramos (Benfica), Joao Felix (Chelsea), Rafael Leao (Milan), Diogo Jota (Liverpool)

(Reporting by Janina Nuno Rios in Mexico City; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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