Portugal without Ronaldo for opening World Cup qualifier

LISBON: European champions Portugal will be without Cristiano Ronaldo for their opening World Cup qualifier in Switzerland after he was left out of the squad on Friday.

The 31-year-old is still recovering from the knee injury which forced him to limp out of the Euro 2016 final against France in the first half, coach Fernando Santos said.

Forward Bernardo Silva, who missed the tournament in France through injury, returned to the squad along with Russian-based defender Luis Neto. Uncapped Porto forward Andre Silva was also called up.

"The clubs are only just starting their championships and this is an unusual phase of the season," Santos said.

"My choice was to maintain the base of the final stages of the European championship, apart from the ones who are medically not in shape.

"The national team is never closed to any player," he added. "There are other options who could be here but aren't today."

Central defender Ricardo Carvalho, who is without a club, and right back Vieirinha were also missing from the squad.

Portugal face Switzerland in Basel on September 6 in their opening game in Group B and play a friendly against Gibraltar in Porto on September 1.

Goalkepers: Rui Patricio (Sporting), Anthony Lopes (Olympique Lyonnais), Eduardo (Dinamo Zagreb)

Defenders: Joao Cancelo (Valencia), Cedric Soares (Southampton), Pepe (Real Madrid), Bruno Alves (Cagliari), Jose Fonte (Southampton), Luis Neto (Zenit St Petersburg), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund), Eliseu (Benfica)

Midfielders: William Carvalho (Sporting), Danilo (Porto), Joao Moutinho (Monaco), Adrien Silva (Sporting), Andre Gomes (Barcelona), Joao Mario (Sporting), Renato Sanches (Bayern Munich

Forwards: Rafa Silva (Braga), Bernardo Silva (Monaco), Nani (Valencia), Ricardo Quaresma (Besiktas), Eder (Lille) Andre Silva (Porto)