Ricardo Pereira: It's my goal to play at Euro 2020 for Portugal

Leicester City defender Ricardo Pereira has revealed his dream of representing Portugal at next summer’s European Championships.

The full-back has appeared seven times for his country since making his international debut in 2015, but has yet to earn a consistent place in Fernando Santos’ squad.

Pereira was included in the 23-man panel for the 2018 World Cup, but played just one game as Portugal were eliminated by Uruguay in the round of 16.

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He was left out of the squad for the Nations League and Nations League finals, but returned to the setup in October 2019 and featured in both of Portugal’s last two games this year.

A solid season with Leicester has put him back in contention and Pereira is hopeful that consistent form can keep him in Santos’ plans for Euro 2020.

“This is a goal since the start of the season,” Pereira told Goal. “But I must play very well here with Leicester to have the opportunity to help the national team at the European Championship.”

Portugal have been given an unfavourable route to defend their European title, having been drawn in Group F along with France and Germany.

“It’s a very difficult group,” the 26-year-old continued. “There are three big teams, but I don’t think there are any favorites.

“We’re all going to play against each other. It’s going to be very tight, for sure. But anything can happen and I hope Portugal will win at the end.”

Portugal are European champions but France lifted the World Cup last year to become world champions for the second time in their history. Pereira is fully aware of the talent they possess and believes they are probably the best team in the tournament.

“Perhaps… If they became world champions, it is not by chance,” he admitted. 

“But Germany also has a good squad. They will be two very difficult games.”

Portugal’s first opponents at Euro 2020 are not yet known, with play-offs taking place in March to decide who will be the fourth team in Group F.

The winner of Path A or D will be the final team in the pot, but due to Romania’s status as one of the competition’s 12 host cities, they will be automatically placed in Group C if they qualify.

That means Portugal will face one of Bulgaria, Hungary, Iceland, Belarus, Georgia, Kosovo or North Macedonia in their opening game on June 16.

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