Five Portugal players to look out for at Euro 2020
STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - SEPTEMBER 08: Goncalo Guedes of Portugal during the UEFA Nations League group stage match between Sweden and Portugal at Friends Arena on September 8, 2020 in Stockholm, Sweden. (Photo by David Lidstrom/Getty Images)

Portugal's Euro 2016 triumph was one of the biggest international shocks when they beat host nation France 1-0 in the final, courtesy of Eder's long-range strike.

They're one of the tournament favourites going into Euro 2020, so here are five players who could play a crucial part in their quest to retain their title.

Ruben Dias (Defender)

Ruben Dias has proven to be the signing of the season. When the Manchester City defender made his big-money move to the Etihad from Benfica, few expected him to make the impact he did.

With City lying eighth in the Premier League table, Pep Guardiola threw the 23-year-old straight into his starting eleven and reaped the rewards instantly. Forming a tremendous partnership with John Stones, Dias helped reinstate his team's defensive solidity and guided them to a third league title in four years.

Raphaël Guerreiro (Defender)

Raphaël Guerreiro has been a reliable servant for his country ever since his debut back in 2014 and represented at all tournaments which have followed, including the famous Euro 2016 and inaugural Nations League triumphs.

Comfortable in any position down the left-hand side, Guerrerio’s 22 goals in the black and yellow of Borussia Dortmund show his attacking capabilities but he is also known for his excellent defensive discipline.

It’s amazing to think that he’s still only 27 years old and therefore still has the best part of a decade left of a career that has only seen one major injury.

He’s been at Dortmund since 2016, so is it time for him to search for a new challenge? Not quite yet, but a solid Euro 2020 would certainly have the big clubs circling again. Watch out for pinpoint deliveries and stunning set pieces coming from that left foot of his.

Renato Sanches (Midfielder)

Euro 2016 was Renato Sanches’ breakthrough tournament and earned him a move from Benfica to Bayern Munich for an initial £30m.

That fee for an 18-year-old raised eyebrows, but his stunning performance raised even more and no one would have batted against him not performing in Bavaria. The move, however, may have come too soon as he failed to impress consistently and loan moves to the likes of Swansea City only made things worse.

Fast forward to 2021, though, and Sanches is back enjoying his football. He’s back enjoying his game again and played an important role in Lille title-winning season as the underdogs pipped Paris Saint Germain to the Ligue 1 trophy. The world is waiting in anticipation to see if he can replicate his performances of five years ago.

Gonçalo Guedes (Forward)

Portugal boasts arguably their strongest-ever forward line going into Euro 2020 and Gonçalo Guedes is right up there with their brightest young attacking talents. Having to compete with the likes of Diogo Jota and Bernardo Silva for a starting spot isn’t easy but, after impressing in the Nations League finals, Guedes is likely ahead of the Liverpool man at least.

Able to play on either wing or as a second striker, the 24-year-old’s versatility makes him a real asset to Portugal and his end product with both feet is a key attribute in his ever-growing arsenal.

He does need to sharpen up his shooting, but the creative side of his game – and the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo has 90% of their chances – more than makes up for it. This could be the tournament where Guedes announces himself to the world.

Andre Silva (Forward)

Andre Silva was dubbed as Ronaldo’s successor for the national team when he broke onto the scene after Euro 2016 having led the line impressively for Porto.

When he got his big-money move to AC Milan, however, the goals dried up and the striker remarkably only spent one season in Milan’s squad before being loaned out to Sevilla and then Eintracht Frankfurt for the 2019/20 season.

12 goals in 25 games were enough to persuade the German club to commit to him permanently and he has fully repaid them by banging in 28 goals in just 32 appearances. His international record isn’t too shabby, either, with a goals-to-games ratio of 16:38. Of course, Ronaldo will be Portugal’s no.1 striker this summer, but Silva isn’t far behind him at all. It would be amazing to see them line up alongside each other.

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