Pizzi has made his highly anticipated debut for Spanish giants Atletico Madrid. Well, it was highly anticipated for me. Pizzi is a player who has shown huge amounts of potential over the past couple of seasons for Pacos Ferreira, on loan from Braga. At the beginning of this season, Braga announced that the winger would stay in the first team, and that he would join the team for their pre-season. Pizzi joined them, and was one of their stand-out performers. Much was expected of him, but few expected him to make a move to one of the biggest teams on Spain. He did however, moving to Atletico Madrid on a bizarre loan move. After joining up with the team, he made the bench for Atletico’s first Europa League group stage game, against Celtic. Today, however, Pizzi finally made his debut in Atletico’s 4-0 drubbing of Racing Santander. His debut was hugely overshadowed by Falcao’s hat-trick. Speaking after the game, Pizzi expressed his delight in making his debut for Atletico, stating that “It’s the best team I’ve ever been in during my career. We have players with great quality and it’s a great club.” If Pizzi continues his hard work and impresses the Atletico Madrid coach enough, the Spanish club have the ability to activate a clause in Pizzi’s loan contract to buy the winger for 15 million euros. Right now, that seems a little steep. Come January, that may seem a bargain.
Cercle Brugge’s new Portuguese striker, Rudi, has hit the ground running for the Belgian club. Rudi’s double against Beerschot over the weekend brought his goal tally to five goals in four games. Few knew who Rudi was before this season, and no one expected him to be second in the Belgian League’s goal scoring charts. Rudi joined Cercle from Portuguese third division side Atletico CP this summer, much to the surprise of everyone. Rudi has not looked back since, and a glittering career surely awaits him
Braga to Atletico Madrid (loan)
One of the most unexpected moves of the summer regarding Portuguese football concluded recently. That would be Pizzi moving from Braga to Atletico Madrid. After snapping up Silvio and Julio Alves in the off season, Atletico, who are loaded with cash following the departures of Diego Forlan and Sergio Aguero, have secured the loan of Pizzi. Pizzi, who currently is owned by SC Braga, was loaned to Pacos Ferreira last term, notching up over 40 appearances. The performances were enough to convince Braga to keep him in the first team for the 2011-2012 season. He participated in pre-season for Braga, putting in some impressive performances. Many fans expected for Pizzi to be one of the stars of the Liga Zon Sagres this season, but it appears that will be put on hold. The agreement is for the loan of the winger, with an option to buy at the end of the loan contract. The option is believed to be around 15 million euros, which is quite a chunk of money for a largely unproven player. Pizzi’s skills were evident last season, and the player seems to be growing in confidence and ability daily. It will be interesting to see whether this move is a success.
Porto to Atletico Madrid
Atletico Madrid to Zaragoza (loan)
Ruben Micael has put pen to paper on a move from Porto to Atletico Madrid. The fee is believed to be around 5 million euros. Micael joined Porto from Nacional Madeira in January of 2010, and has since mainly made his contributions from the bench. Nevertheless, Portugal coach called the midfielder up for the team’s friendly match against Finland earlier this year. Micael scored both of Portugal’s goals in their 2-0 victory. Due to the arrival of Steven Defour from Standard Liege, Micael is searching for regular playing time, probably in the hope of representing Portugal at Euro 2012. Atletico made the headlines for their signing of Falcao, and Ruben Micael has flown under the radar. The midfielder, however, will not be playing at Atletico this season. It has been announced that he will play at Zaragoza, on a season-long loan. This is most likely due to the imminent transfer of Brazilian star Diego from Wolfsburg.
Pizzi, who recently returned to Braga from his loan at Pacos Ferreira, is reportedly very close to a move to La Liga giants Atletico Madrid. Pizzi has continued his stellar form from last season at Pacos Ferreira to this pre-season with Braga, often one of their more eye-catching performers. The winger was the subject of interest from Russia, namely Zenit St.Petersburg, but the move did not materialize. Now, Atletico are swooping down to secure his signature. It won’t be cheap, though. A fee of 14 million is reported to be the agreed fee, as that is his release clause. If Pizzi does indeed join Atletico Madrid, he will be the third Portuguese acquisition of the summer for the Spanish giants, after Silvio and Tiago.
The Portuguese National Under-20 Team settled for a draw tonight against Uruguay. Both Portugal and Uruguay controlled the game from time to time and were, overall, even. Portugal showed more possession in the first half of play, but Uruguay stepped up their game in the second half and shackled Portugal’s play. Both teams came close at times, most notably when Sergio Oliveira hit the post with a marvelous free-kick, and when Uruguay’s captain, Diego Polenta, rattled the crossbar with a long-range effort.
Overall, Portugal played a defensive, possession-first game. The service to the forwards was not always the best, with Sana to be partially at fault. Danilo Pereira and Pele both excelled in their defensive midfield duties, but they would often leave Sana and Sergio Oliveira to do most of the creative attacking work in the midfield, due to their defensive approach. By far the most important aspect of the team was the defense. Nuno Reis and Roderick were water-tight, shutting down Uruguayan advances all night. The outside backs (Cedric and Luis Martins) were solid also.
Mika, Nuno Reis, Roderick, Luis Martins, Cedric, Pele (Julio Alves), Danilo Pereira, Sana (Tiago Ferreira), Sergio Oliveira, Nelson Oliveira, Rafael Lopes (Alex)
Mika: 7 : Benfica’s new signing certainly lived up to his reputation with an assured display. He always looked confident in his handling.
Nuno Reis: 7 : The pairing of Roderick and Reis complement each other well. The defense was one of Portugal’s strong-suits tonight, no doubt because of him.
Roderick: 7 : As stated above, Roderick performed well in his defensive duties, constantly breaking up plays. His range of passing was also a sight to behold.
Luis Martins: 6.5 : Martins had a solid game defensively, but I would have liked to see him attack more.
Cedric: 7 : Portugal’s number 8 had both a solid defensive and offensive game. His runs forward furthered Portugal’s attack and gave Uruguay headaches
Pele: 7 : Genoa’s new signing met all expectations. Pele is naturally a very gifted player, and it was shown tonight. He constantly got himself out of sticky situations using his skill. Along with Danilo Pereira, He anchored Portugal’s team and supplied the link between the defense and midfield.
Danilo Pereira: 7 : Much the same with Pele, Danilo fulfilled his role well, holding the midfield down with style. The only downside to his performance was his lack of attacking.
Sana: 6.5 : Virtually Portugal’s only creative midfielder, Sana was constantly on breakaways and feeding the forwards passes, only for them to make a mess of them. It must have been a frustrating night for him.
Sergio Oliveira: 6.5 : Apart from hitting the post in the second half, Porto’s midfielder didn’t do much. He hit many speculative shots, but could have helped Sana more in the midfield.
Nelson Oliveira: 6 : Overall, Nelson Oliveira did not play well. He did not play badly, but he just had a bad game. Missed an open opportunity when Sana put him through on goal in the second half, but he missed his shot.
Rafael Lopes: 5 : A very dissappointing performance from the forward, who just couldn’t find his feet. The only thing he did was make Uruguay’s players angry. He was nowhere to be seen for large chunks of time in the game.
Alex: 6.5 : The Santa Clara man came on for the ineffectual Rafael Lopes, and did better than his predecessor. He made some good passes and generally looked good on the ball. Would be a good replacement for Rafael Lopes in the coming games.
Julio Alves: 6 : Overall a very mediocre performance from Atletico Madrid’s new signing. Mind you, he did only have a handful of minutes at the end.
Tiago Ferreira: N/A : Not enough time on the field to give a rating.
Besiktas have announced the signing of Portuguese winger, Simao, from Atletico Madrid. There has been speculation over Simao’s future at Atletico, and Besiktas have silenced that with a 900,000 Euro deal. He will join on a two-and-a-half year deal, which will keep him at the club through the 2012-2013 season. Simao joined Atletico from Benfica in 2007, and has enjoyed great amounts of success at the Spanish team, easily being one of their most consistent performers. Simao has a Europa League and a UEFA Super Cup to his name, so he will now join fellow Portuguese Quaresma at the Turkish capital. No more news has come out of the Manuel Fernandes deal to Besiktas. Although he has passed his medical, it has not officially been announced. Simao will no-doubt keep up his level of performance from Atletico, and since the Turkish league is less competitive than the Spanish league, his level of performance may be raised.
A lot has been happening lately involving transfers, and it seems that the more that happens, the less time I have to report on it. Here’s the brunt of it.
Portuguese Under-21 international Pizzi has been loaned from Braga to fellow Liga Zon Sagres Pacos Ferreira. The 20 year-old was on loan to Pacos for half of last season, and after some intense negotiations, Braga have decided to loan him out again, this time for the entire 2010-2011 season.
Benfica starlet Nelson Oliveira has apparently swapped a loan move from Rio Ave to Pacos Ferreira. Originally, Oliveira was to play for Rio Ave for the 2010-2011 season, but it has now surfaced that the Portuguese Under-19 international will now be playing for Pacos de Ferreira instead. Why? I don’t know.
FC Porto youngster Sergio Oliveira will spend next season on loan to Liga Zon Sagres newcomers Beira-Mar. Oliveira was quite impressive in the recent UEFA U-19 championships, scoring against Italy.
Danilo Periera, who recently impressed with the Portugal Under-19 side at the UEFA Euro U-19 Championship, has recently been touted to move to Serie A, specifically Genoa and Parma. Parma somehow came out on top and Pereira is tied to them for the next 5 years. Supposedly he will be unveiled tomorrow.
Portuguese World Cup star Tiago has, once again, been loaned to Europa League champions Atletico Madrid from Juventus. Quique Flores, the Atleico coach, struggled to get Tiago again after an impressive spell last season.Tiago thoroughly approved the move, saying that Atletico is the only team he would consider moving to.
Raul Meireles was suprisingly left out of Porto’s squad for their upcoming Europa League match, further fueling the transfer speculation surrounding him. Sir Alex Ferguson is apparently searching for a replacement for the aging Paul Scholes. After he failed at his bid for German midfielder Ozil, Sir Alex has now shifted his attention to Raul Meireles. Meireles was one of Portugal’s bright points at this summer’s World Cup, and Chelsea were apparently on the verge of signing him this summer, but the deal fell through.
1-Manchester United 1-2 Chelsea – Paulo Ferreira and Deco started for the blues, with the latter substituted out in the 82nd minute. Both Bosingwa and Ricardo Carvalho are out injured for Chelsea, so it goes without saying that they did not make an appearance. Nani substituted in for United on 72 minutes, and assisted Macheda’s goal.
2-Bolton 0-1 Aston Villa – Vaz te not included in the Bolton squad as he is still playing for the reserves.
3-Portsmouth 0-0 Blackburn – Ricardo Rocha played a full match for Portsmouth.
5-Borussia Dortmund 2-1 Werder Bremen – Hugo Almeida played a full match for the Bremen.
6-Koln 0-3 Hertha BSC – Maniche and Petit played a full match for Koln.
7-Hamburger SV 0-0 Hannover – Sergio Pinto played a full match for Hannover.
1-Inter 3-0 Bologna – Quaresma nowhere to be seen
2-Atalanta 2-0 Siena – Brandao nowhere to be seen
1-Zaragoza 2-0 Malaga – Duda played a full match for Malaga, with Helder Rosario nowhere to be seen. Eliseu also played a full match for Zaragoza.
2-Valladolid 0-2 Villareal – Pele suspended for Valladolid, so he didn’t play, but Sereno played a full game for them.
3-Almeria 1-1 Mallorca – Nunes played a full match for Mallorca, with Bruno China nowhere to be seen.
4-Valencia 3-0 Osasuna – Manuel Fernandes played a full match for Valencia.
5-Racing Santander 0-2 Real Madrid – Pepe still out for Madrid, with Ronaldo playing a full match and scoring a penalty.
6-Atletico Madrid 3-0 Deportivo – Both Tiago and Simao started for Atletico, with the latter being substituted out in the 86th minute. Tiago also scored his first league goal since 2006! Ze Castro was nowhere to be seen for Deportivo.
7-Saint Etienne 2-0 Le Mans – Joao Paulo played full match for Le Mans.
8-Valenciennes 1-0 Lille – Ricardo Costa substituted in for Lille in the 86th minute.
9-Marseille 1-0 Lens – Marco Ramos played a full match for Lens
10-Boulogne 1-1 Toulouse – Paulo Machado played the first 74 minutes for Toulouse.
Its official, Tiago is turning his career around……..Maybe. We’ll see about that, but the Portuguese international has been loaned by Juventus to Atletico. I think tha this will be a very constructive move for Tiago, as he can help them combat the ongoing relegation worries. Also, he will be playing alongside fellow Sellecao, Simao. For some time now, it has become obvious that either the Italian League or Juventus are not a good place for Tiago. This year, he came in third, if I remember correctly, in the “Worst Italian Player” standings. So overall, I hope that this will be a good move for him, if anything to get his confidence back.