Nuno Mendes looks set to miss the rest of the World Cup but will stay with Portugal in Qatar, coach Fernando Santos has announced.
The Paris Saint-Germain left-back seemed set to be an important member of the Portugal team in Qatar, but a thigh injury has scuppered hopes of being a fixture in the side.
Mendes was not involved in the opening 3-2 win against Ghana but started against Uruguay on Monday, only to be substituted just 42 minutes into that game and replaced by Borussia Dortmund’s Raphael Guerreiro.
He left the field in tears, and that seems likely to be his only involvement in the tournament, with Guerreiro the obvious choice to be Portugal’s starter at left-back against South Korea on Friday and thereafter, with the team’s place in the knockout stage secured.
The 20-year-old was also troubled by a thigh problem in the weeks leading up to the tournament but returned to the PSG starting line-up for two games before joining up with his national side.
Santos said: “He will continue to stay with us here in Qatar because that’s what the players wanted. The club allowed him to come here because it was important to him.
“He wanted to stay here with us, this really reflects the spirit of the team and how united we all are.
“I feel sad about those who won’t be able to play, but it has to encourage me and the other players, because we have to make up for those who aren’t there.”
2 – Portugal have recorded two straight wins in the #FIFAWorldCup for the first time since the 2006 edition (4). Solid.#POR #Qatar2022 pic.twitter.com/WIjLTzrKka
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) November 28, 2022
A statement from the Portuguese federation, the FPF, read: “The international Nuno Mendes, after carrying out tests, was considered unavailable for the work of the national team by the health and performance unit of the FPF.
“The player suffered a muscle injury in his left thigh during the game between Portugal and Uruguay. Nuno Mendes will remain part of the national delegation in Qatar, where he will begin the recovery work.”
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