LISBON: Portugal coach Fernando Santos said on Monday that the European champions are expecting to challenge for the title at the Confederations Cup in Russia.
Powered by four-times world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal kick off their Group A campaign on Sunday against Mexico in Kazan.
“This will be a very difficult competition, but Portugal are still going as title contenders,” insisted the 62-year-old at a press conference near Lisbon.
“We always assume our responsibilities, tackling each game with the intention of winning it.
“A year ago I said that Portugal were going to Euro 2016 to win it. I said we were not favorites, but contenders for victory. I keep that same confidence today.”
New Zealand and hosts Russia complete Group A for the World Cup warm-up tournament that runs from June 17 to July 2, with world champions Germany, Chile, Cameroon and Australia making up Group B.
Portugal starlet Silva signs for AC Milan
AC Milan captured Portugal sensation Andre Silva from Porto on a five-year deal Monday as the resurgent Serie A giants continue to build for next season.
“AC Milan would like to announce the signing from FC Porto of Andre Silva, who has signed a contract until June 30, 2022,” said an official club statement.
It gave no financial details of the deal, although reports suggest the Italian giants have paid in the region of 38m euros ($42.5 million) for Silva, who is often described as the “the new Cristiano Ronaldo” and was recently given a glowing report by the Real Madrid star.
“When I retire, Portugal will still be in good hands,” said Ronaldo. “We have a great striker in Andre Silva.”
The 21-year-old striker became a reported target for a number of top European clubs on the back of one strong season with Porto, and his displays with Portugal during 2018 World Cup qualifying.
But after Milan failed in bids to land Andrea Belotti from Torino and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund, the seven-time European champions made an audacious bid for Silva — and were met with a positive response.
He is their fourth recruit in as many weeks following the signings of Swiss left-back Ricardo Rodriguez (Wolfsburg), Ivorian Franck Kessie (Atalanta) and Argentinian centre-back Mateo Musaccio.
Although used as one of two strikers in a 4-4-2 in the Portuguese national side — for whom he has scored seven goals in eight games — Silva played as the lone striker in Porto’s 4-3-3 formation, one that is also used by Milan coach Vincenzo Montella.
Silva said: “I’m very happy to be here. I chose Milan because it’s a historic club, especially in the Champions League.
“And, it came as an opportunity for me. I was happy that Milan came looking for me. I hope to help Milan over the next seasons.
“When I was little I used to follow Ronaldo when he was in Milan (at Inter). After the Brazilian Ronaldo, I began following Cristiano when he signed for Manchester (United).
“For me, he’s the best in the world.”
Milan were recently sold to Chinese investors by long-time club owner Silvio Berlusconi in a bid to inject fresh impetus into their attempt to rejoin the elite of European football.