Ultimate Portugal dream team - Ronaldo & Eusebio in, Deco out

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Ultimate Portugal Dream Team
Some of the game's greatest have featured for Portugal, but only the best are allowed in our all-time XI!

Portugal first qualified for the World Cup in 1966, as a team featuring legendary Ballon d'Or winner Eusebio finished in third place.

Their golden generation arrived in the 1990s with legends like Luis Figo, Rui Costa and Paulo Sousa turning Portugal into a force to be reckoned with.

Trophies evaded that crop of players, however, as Portugal had to wait until 2016 for their first major piece of silverware when they won the European Championship at the expense of France.

They then lifted the 2018-19 UEFA Nations League to build on their first success.

Plenty of superstars have featured for Selecao throughout the years, but only the greatest ever can make it into their all-time best XI!

  1. GK: Vitor Baia

    GK: Vitor Baia

    One of the most decorated goalkeepers of all time, Vitor Baia made an impression with Porto before catching the eye of Portuguese national team selectors.

    He made his senior debut in 1990 at the age of 21 and went on to make 80 appearances for the national team until 2002, playing a starring role at Euro 1996 and 2000, as well as the 2002 World Cup.

    At Euro 2000, it was Baia who stopped Arif Erdem's penalty in a 2-0 win over Turkey in the quarter-finals.

    Then came Luiz Felipe Scolari as Portugal's manager and Baia never played for his country again.

    That doesn't stop him from beating Rui Patricio to the No.1 jersey in this dream team, though!

  2. RB: Joao Domingos Pinto

    Regarded as one of the greatest Portuguese defenders of all time, Pinto represented his country for more than a decade, featuring in one World Cup and one European Championship.

    He appeared in 70 games for Portugal and captained them 42 times.

    After failing to help Portugal qualify for the 1994 World Cup, Pinto was reduced to tears on the field.

    Bobby Robson, who coached him at his club Porto once famously said: "Pinto has two hearts and four legs. It's extremely difficult to find a player like him."

  3. CB: Fernando Couto
    Imago Images

    CB: Fernando Couto

    Couto played at the 2002 World Cup as well as three European Championships during a 14-year spell for Portugal.

    He made his debut for the senior team in December 1990 in a 1-0 friendly win over United States.

    He went on to represent Portugal at the Euro 1996, scoring a memorable goal against Turkey in the group stages.

    Couto also featured at Euro 2000 and the 2002 World Cup and became the first Portuguese player to reach 100 caps, in October 2003.

    He then captained Portugal at Euro 2004, where they reached the final.

    The defender played 110 games for Portugal before hanging up his boots.

  4. CB: Pepe

    CB: Pepe

    One of the best defenders of his generation, Pepe was actually born and raised in Brazil but opted to play for Portugal and thus gets to partner Couto at the back.

    Since 2007, he has made over 125 appearances for Portugal and has played at three World Cups and four Euros.

    Pepe was part of the Portugal team that won Euro 2016, as well as the one before that reached the semi-final of Euro 2012.

  5. LB: Fabio Coentrao

    LB: Fabio Coentrao

    One of the prominent left-backs in modern-day Portuguese football, Coentrao made his debut for the senior team in November 2009.

    He was then chosen by Carlos Queiroz for the 2010 World Cup and played all matches in South Africa, where Portugal suffered a last-16 knockout.

    Coentrao was immense for Portugal at Euro 2012 where he helped his nation to the semi-final.

    After suffering an injury in the middle of the 2014 World Cup, he was ruled out of the tournament.

    Coentrao then went on to miss Euro 2016, which Portugal won, and was overlooked by Portugal's selectors for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

    He eventually retired with 52 appearances.

  6. LCM: Paulo Sousa

    LCM: Paulo Sousa

    Benfica legend Sousa was a member of Portugal's "Golden Generation", appearing at the 2002 World Cup and two European Championships.

    A tactically intelligent and versatile midfielder, Sousa was known for his hard tackles in midfield, his vision and ball control.

    Also renowned for his leadership qualities, he was a true star of Portugal in the 1990s, making 51 appearances in an 11-year spell.

  7. RCM: Joao Moutinho

    RCM: Joao Moutinho

    One of the greatest midfielders Portugal has ever produced, Moutinho made his Portugal national team debut in 2005 at the age of 18 and has surpassed over a century of appearances.

    A feisty central midfielder who loves operating on the right, he made quite an impression at the 2006 World Cup, before becoming a mainstay at Euro 2008, World Cup 2010, Euro 2012, World Cup 2014, Euro 2016 (which Portugal won), World Cup 2018 and Euro 2020.

    At the age of 36, the 2022 tournament in Qatar will be his fourth appearance at a World Cup and he just beats the legendary Mario Coluna and Deco to a spot in midfield.

  8. RW: Luis Figo
    Getty Images

    RW: Luis Figo

    One irreplaceable name in Portugal's dream team has to be Figo.

    The winger made 127 appearances for the national team between 1991 to 2006, a record that was later broken by Pepe, Cristiano Ronaldo and Joao Moutinho.

    Figo won the Ballon d'Or at his peak in 2000 and represented Portugal at three Euros and two World Cups, helping them reach the final of the Euro 2004.

  9. CAM: Rui Costa

    CAM: Rui Costa

    One of the greatest attacking midfielders to have graced the game, Rui Costa was a sight to behold in his prime.

    Nicknamed "The Maestro", he possessed excellent technique, playmaking skills and an eye for goal from midfield.

    Rui Costa made 94 appearances for Portugal, scoring 26 goals.

  10. LW: Cristiano Ronaldo
    Getty Images

    LW: Cristiano Ronaldo

    The greatest attack Portugal has ever produced, Ronaldo made his international debut in 2003 as an 18-year-old boy and from thereon, he began a remarkable journey to immortality.

    He participated in 11 major tournaments and was an integral member of the Portugal team that reached the final of Euro 2004, before he went on to lead his nation to win Euro 2016, finishing with the Silver Boot.

    He played the early part of his Portugal days as a winger before taking up the striker position later in his career.

    Ronaldo also played a role in Portugal winning the UEFA Nations League in 2019 before winning the Golden Boot at Euro 2020.

    He is currently the greatest goalscorer in international football after breaking Ali Daei's record in September 2021.

  11. ST: Eusebio
    Getty Images

    ST: Eusebio

    Considered one of the greatest players of all time, Eusebio featured as a striker throughout his career with Portugal.

    The legend scored 41 goals in 64 international games between 1961 and 1973, during which he helped Portugal come third at the 1966 World Cup, scoring the most number of goals at the tournament (nine).

    The 1965 Ballon d'Or winner scored 424 goals in 436 appearances in his club career, which is almost a goal per game!