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Hugo Almeida returns to Portugal squad for first time since World Cup

Hugo Almeida has not played football since parting ways with Serie A club Cesena in January.

Striker Hugo Almeida has earned his first call-up in nine months as Portugal coach Fernando Santos made five changes for an upcoming European Championship qualifier against Serbia.

Almeida was in Portugal's World Cup squad last year but a nine-month goal drought left him out of favour. 

He has not played any football since Cesena terminated his contract in January.

Real Madrid defender Fabio Coentrao is back from injury, while goalkeeper Hugo Ventura was included for the first time.

Santos is awaiting imminent news of his appeal against an eight-match touchline ban for misconduct at the World Cup. The sanction is frozen until the appeal verdict.

Cristiano Ronaldo's team host Serbia in Lisbon on March 29.

Portugal are second in Group I, one point behind leaders Denmark but with a game in hand. Serbia have one point.

The full squad:

Goalkeepers: Rui Patricio (Sporting Lisbon), Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Hugo Ventura (Belenenses)

Defenders: Jose Bosingwa (Trabzonspor), Bruno Alves (Fenerbahce), Cedric (Sporting Lisbon), Pepe (Real Madrid), Fabio Coentrao (Real Madrid), Jose Fonte (Southampton), Ricardo Carvalho (Monaco), Antunes (Dynamo Kiev).

Midfielders: William Carvalho (Sporting Lisbon), Joao Mario (Sporting Lisbon), Joao Moutinho (Monaco), Andre Gomes (Valencia), Tiago (Atletico Madrid).

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Nani (Sporting Lisbon), Vieirinha (Wolfsburg), Ricardo Quaresma (Porto), Eder (Braga), Danny (Zenit St. Petersburg), Hugo Almeida (Kuban Krasnodar).

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