Pepe and Ricardo Quaresma to shine for Portugal at the 2018 World Cup?

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Updated: June 14, 2018

Several Besiktas players will feature at the 2018 World Cup in Russia this summer but two men who stand out are Portugal duo Pepe and Ricardo Quaresma. Two years ago, Portugal were crowned European champions after Eder’s extra-time strike sunk France – much to the delight of Portuguese fans across the world.

Pepe was still a Real Madrid player at that point but Quaresma had signed for Besiktas less than one year before Portugal’s famous victory. The 34-year-old actually scored a crucial winner against Croatia in extra-time; that was his main contribution, although he did feature for most of the competition. Besiktas fans will be watching his efforts closely this summer…

 

 

Quaresma was once regarded as one of world football’s brightest talents. The former Porto star struggled during brief stints with Barcelona and Chelsea but found his calling back in his native Portugal – although he liked Besiktas enough to join the club for a second time after a two-year spell between 2010 and 2012. According to WhoScored, Quaresma scored five goals and assisted 10 for his teammates in 39 appearances in 2017/18; a solid return.

Portugal’s hopes of winning the World Cup lie on a solid defensive foundation and Pepe is a key figure at the back. The Besiktas star was simply sublime in their 0-0 draw with Belgium earlier this month and also played the full 90 minutes against Algeria in Portugal’s third and final warm-up match ahead of the World Cup. Pepe is now 35 years old but he is showing no signs of slowing down; he has already made 40 appearances for club and country this season.

Discipline may remain somewhat of an issue for Pepe as his record has not improved since moving to Turkey. He received a red card in Besiktas’ 3-0 forfeit defeat to Fenerbahçe at the back end of last season (after Besiktas refuse to continue the abandoned match following fan irregularities which led to their coach being hospitalized) and he remains one of the most physical defenders in world football. His aggressive style suits Besiktas down to the ground, though, and he should shine for the national team this summer.

With Turkey failing to qualify for this summer’s tournament, Besiktas fans will be supporting a range of nations at the World Cup – Portugal will be very popular with the wider fan base. At the time of writing, Fernando Santos’ men are 22/1 with Betfair and plenty of punters will be selecting the 2016 European Championship winners in their football prediction bets.

 Quaresma and Pepe can both help Portugal to reach the latter stages of the World Cup this summer – Fernando Santos’ side might even win it. Labelled as dark horses to lift the Jules Rimet Trophy on July 15th, Portugal were written off at the 2016 European Championships and look what happened there. Besiktas fans will be keeping a close eye on the Portuguese duo throughout the tournament and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see both men step up and lead their country to glory.

Kaan Bayazit
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Kaan Bayazit

Editor-in-chief at Beşiktaş International
I've been covering Turkish football and Beşiktaş in particular for several years. Followed the Süper Lig closely for over a decade. Frequent guest on the Turkish Football Weekly podcast. I've also done various media interviews concerning Beşiktaş in many different countries, from Costa Rica to The Netherlands. Born and raised in Belgium. Editor-in-chief at Beşiktaş International since 2013.
Kaan Bayazit
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