Joao Cancelo has been replaced by Diogo Dalot in Portugal’s Euro 2020 squad after testing positive for Covid-19.
Cancelo was called in Fernando Santos’ final 26-man squad for the European Championships after helping Manchester City win a Premier League and Carabao Cup double in 2020-21.
The 27-year-old was assumed to be one of Portugal’s key players at the summer tournament, but has been down with coronavirus ahead of their Group F opener against Hungary on Tuesday.
The Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) have confirmed that Manchester United right-back Diogo Dalot, who took in a successful loan spell at Milan last term, has been drafted in to fill Cancelo’s spot.
“Under-21 international Diogo Dalot will join the National Team’s delegation in Budapest to prepare for his debut at Euro 2020,” an official statement from the FPF reads. “The AC Milan player will replace Joao Cancelo, who tested positive for Covid-19 following a rapid antigen test carried out this Saturday by the FPF Health and Performance Unit.
“The Hungarian health authorities were informed and the player – who is doing well – was placed in isolation. The result of the test carried out by USP was confirmed by an RT-PCR test carried out on Joao Cancelo also on Saturday and whose result was known on Sunday morning.
“In accordance with the Covid-19 protocol defined by UEFA before the Euro 2020 matches, all players and members of the entourage underwent RT-PCR tests on Saturday. The results, with the exception of Joao Cancelo, were negative.
“The Hungarian health authorities became aware of compliance with the protection procedures, fully respected according to the UEFA protocol, in a group that also has a high rate of vaccine coverage and authorised the National Team to comply with the stipulated plan for the European Championship without any changes.”
Cancelo’s quality and experience would have surely seen him make Santos’ starting XI against Hungary and in group stage fixtures against Germany and France.
Dalot will now have to shoulder a huge responsibility after being handed his first call-up to the Portugal senior squad, with Cancelo now set to go into self-isolation in the next ten days.