Who Will be Benfica’s Next Javi Garcia?

Javi Garcia

Javi Garcia’s departure to Manchester City has opened up a hole in Benfica’s midfield. Garcia had made that position his own over the three seasons he spent at the club, amassing well over 100 appearances in all competitions. He had established himself as one of the club’s most important players, and his presence will surely be missed. With the transfer occurring very close to the end of the transfer window, Benfica coach Jorge Jesus has not had enough time to search for a suitable replacement. Because of this, Jesus must draw from some of the team’s (very talented) Portuguese youngsters. Andre Gomes and Andre Almeida are the two most likely to be chosen to fill this void.

Andre Almeida

Andre Almeida is a name that many who follow the Portugal game will be familiar with. Almeida began his career at Belenenses, initially playing for the U-19 team, before making his senior team debut just after he turned 18. Belenenses have long been known to have nurtured some of the most talented Portuguese of recent years. Some notable graduates include Rolando, Ruben Amorim, Bruno Pereirinha, and Goncalo Brandao. Almeida’s influence on the field increased, as he established himself as one of the club, and the league’s, greatest prospects. He soon became a regular for the Portugal U-21 team, where has has amassed over a dozen appearances. These performances caught the eye of Liga Zon Sagres giants Benfica, and club purchased the midfielder on a free transfer, immediately sending him on loan to Leiria. A successful loan period was ended midway through the season after he was recalled by his parent club. Back at Benfica, made three substitute appearances, both as a right-back and in the holding midfield position. This season, he began on the B team, but has already made the move back up to the main team. After the departure of Javi Garcia, Andre Almeida looks to play second-fiddle to either Nemanja Matic at defensive midfield, or to Maxi Pereira at right-back.

Andre Gomes

Andre Gomes first came to prominence this summer after impressive performances for the Portugal Under-19 team at the U-19 European Championships. Portugal was unlucky enough to have the two finalists in their group, but performed well nevertheless. Gomes earned plaudits for his play in the group, most notably scoring against Spain and Greece, the two finalists. As a result, the then-18 year old was called to play for Benfica’s B team in the Liga Orangina. Having previously played for Benfica’s youth teams, the move to the Liga Orangina would certainly be a huge one. The midfielder made an instant impact, however. On the opening day, he scored a wonderful long-range shot in the dying minutes to salvage a draw against Braga’s B team. Not too long after, Gomes had established himself as one of the team’s most important players. Now, with Benfica’s midfield stretched thin, Jorge Jesus has promoted him to the senior team. He has already debuted for the club in their 1-1 friendly draw with Real Betis.

Jorge Jesus has a decision to make: Andre Almeida or Andre Gomes. Both are players for the future, yet Andre Almeida is more polished and experienced at the moment. It will be interesting to see who gets the nod, and I predict that Andre Almeida will be utilized mainly as a right-back, and Andre Gomes as a holding midfielder.

Liga Orangina Youngster to Watch: Miguel Rosa

Miguel Rosa


Player to Watch

Those who have followed the Liga Orangina over the past two seasons at all will know the name Miguel Rosa well. Rosa is currently on loan from Benfica at Belenenses, where he played last season, also on loan. Miguel Rosa is primarily a center-midfielder, who is just as adept at the attacking-midfield spot. Despite his sometimes deeper-lying position, Rosa has earned a goalscoring reputation. Last season, he contributed eleven goals for Belenenses, and this season he already has five.

Last season, Miguel Rosa was in red-hot form for Belenenses. As stated earlier, the midfielder contributed an impressive eleven goals for the team. His goalscoring exploits and overall stellar play earned him the Liga Orangina Player of the Year award. This feat did not go unnoticed by the club that, and does, own him, Benfica. The Portuguese giants announced that Miguel Rosa would join the first team for preseason training this season. Despite some promising performances, Benfica loaned out Miguel Rosa once again to Belenenses for the entirety of this season. The midfielder has continued his good form on a lesser scale, but there is still evidence that he is growing as a footballer.

Despite his good form for various clubs in the Portuguese second-tier, Rosa has appeared very infrequently for the youth national teams of Portugal. The midfielder only made four appearances for the Portugal Under-19 team, and despite scoring three goals for the team, he was never called to any higher youth setup. If Miguel Rosa can earn a spot in Benfica’s midfield next season, which looks unlikely, he could earn a spot in the Portugal National Team’s midfield. In an attempt to gain enough playing time, Rosa may have to cut his ties with Benfica, however.

Miguel Rosa has shown time and time again that he is too skilled to be playing in the Liga Orangina. Some would argue that he is the most talented player in the league at the moment, after it was confirmed that he was last season. Regardless, Miguel Rosa looks to be a solid player for seasons to come, whether it is in the Liga Orangina, the Liga Zon Sagres, or another league in Europe.

Top 5 Transfers of January 2012

The transfer window was unusually quiet this winter in Portugal, as it was all around Europe. Despite the lack of activity, some potentially major moves did occur. These players all have the capability to be important players for their new clubs in the near future.


1. Yannick - Unattached to Benfica

Yannick had been without a club since his failed transfer to French club OGC Nice from Sporting Lisbon. The winger/striker’s skill is undeniable, but his consistency certainly is lacking, as he showed at Sporting. Yannick was reportedly close to a move to Porto and a trial at Aston Villa, but neither moves materialized. Benfica promptly snapped up the forward on deadline day, and he has already made his debut, in the League Cup.


2. Daniel Fernandes - Cluj to Twente

Daniel Fernandes has performed well when given the chance to succeed. When he played in Greece, he was extremely successful. His time more recently in Germany did not go as planned, and a move to Romania looked to increase playing time. Things did not go as planned once again, and after making just two league appearances for Cluj, Twente promptly snapped up the experienced goalkeeper on a free transfer. It may take a lot to dislodge the current Twente goalkeeper, but Daniel Fernandes will work through it, just as he has before.


3. Ricardo Vaz Te - Barnsley to West Ham

After his release from Bolton in 2010, Vaz Te looked set for a career in the lower leagues of Greece, Cyprus, or Romania. After two unsuccessful stints in Greece and Scotland, Vaz Te was signed on a free by Barnsley. Not much was expected of the striker, but after ten goals in twenty-two appearances, that all changed. West Ham, who look certain for promotion, promptly snapped up the striker from Barnsley, after Vaz Te had only spent half a season with them. The striker has already made his debut for the club, and looks set for a successful last half of the season with what is a very talented squad.


4. Joao Carlos - Sporting to Liverpool

At the age of just 18, Joao Carlos was called up to Sporting’s first team at the beginning of this season. He trained with the squad throughout the pre-season, but rejoined the Under-19 team, as did many players, once the season was underway. The center midfielder, who has been compared to Deco, was an integral part of the Sporting U-19 team that decimated all opposition in the group stage of the Next-Gen Series. One of his finest performances came when the squad travelled to Liverpool. The midfielder bagged a wonderful goal, and his performance must have caught the eye of Liverpool first-team manager, Kenny Dalglish, who promptly signed him at the next possible opportunity: the January transfer window. Joao Carlos will now join Liverpool’s reserve team, and hope to win a starting spot in Liverpool’s first team in the future.


5. Abel Camara - Belenenses to Beira-Mar

After multiple seasons of solid performances, Abel Camara finally made the step up from the Liga Orangina to the Liga Zon Sagres. Already a regular for the Belenenses team and the Portuguese Under-21 Team, Abel was a well-established striker in Portugal. Now, he has the opportunity to prove his skills on a bigger stage for Beira-Mar.

Trio Joins Beira-Mar

Beira-Mar have snapped up three promising players from the Liga Orangina today, as was announced in the Portuguese media. Abel Camara completed his move from Belenenses, Nuno Lopes joined from Oliveirense, and Tiago Cintra arrives from Leixoes. All three have showcased their talents in the Liga Orangina, and are now eager to do the same in the Portuguese topflight.

Abel Camara

Belenenses to Beira-Mar

Yesterday’s rumor has predictably turned into today’s reality. Abel Camara has joined the club from Belenenses, where he had previously spent the entirety of his senior career. Currently a regular for the Portuguese Under-21 team, Abel is due to join training at Beira-Mar as soon as Tuesday. The striker reportedly signed a four-and-a-half year deal, which will tie him to the club until 2016.

Nuno Lopes

Oliveirense to Beira-Mar

Nuno Lopes, who is Miguel Lopes’s twin brother, has joined Beira-Mar from Oliveirense. The right-defender had only been at the Liga Orangina club for a mere season and a half, but his performances have merited a move to the Liga Zon Sagres.

Tiago Cintra

Leixoes to Beira-Mar

Tiago Cintra looked like a star for the future when he broke into Leixoes’s first-team two seasons ago. That promise has diminished, but many would argue that some portion of it is still there. Cintra played for Leixoes for two and a half seasons, before Beira-Mar snatched him up today.

Andre Pires to Join Beira-Mar

Andre Pires

Belenenses to Beira-Mar (End of season)

Belenenses left-back Andre Pires is set to join Liga Zon Sagres side Beira-Mar at the end of the season, according to reports coming out of Portugal. Pires has been at Belenenses since 2008, when he joined the club’s youth setup. One season later, he was promoted into the first-team, and has practically been a regular ever since. Pires will be the second Belenenses player to leave the club after it is widely rumored that Abel Camara is also set to join Beira-Mar.

Transfer Rumors – 1/29/12

Thus far this transfer window has been quite quiet, but as the month continues and the transfer window begins to draw to a close, more moves are likely. Here are a few interesting, if unimportant, rumors that we will have to keep an eye on over the next three days.


Abel Camara

Belenenses to Beira-Mar?

Beira-Mar looks set to sign Abel Camara, who is currently on Belenenses’s books in the Liga Orangina. Abel has been a regular for both Belenenses and the Portuguese Under-21 team for some time now, so a move to the Portuguese top-flight looks inevitable. Though an official announcement has not yet happened, the move looks likely, and Beira-Mar could confirm it as soon as Monday.


Tiago Targino

Vitoria Guimaraes to Servette (loan)?

Vitoria Guimaraes winger Tiago Targino looks set for a loan move to Swiss side Servette, as his playing time at the Portuguese club has been limited this season. Much like Abel’s proposed move, this move looks very likely to occur very soon. Targino will join Servette on loan for the remainder of the season.

Liga Orangina Younsters to Watch: Abel Camara

The Liga Orangina, which is Portugal’s second division, has nurtured many young talents in Portuguese Football over the past years. These talents have gone on to lead successful careers. Players such as Carlos Martins, Beto, Bruno Alves, and Raul Meireles have all, at one point in their lofty careers, plied their trade in the Liga Orangina. More recently, players such as Rafael Lopes, who represented the Portuguese team at the recent U-20 World Cup, and Joao Silva, who’s scoring exploits in the Liga Orangina earned him a move to Premier League giants Everton, have impressed.

Now, we will take a look at the new crop of players who show promise in the Liga; players who we will certainly hear much of in the coming seasons. First up is Abel Camara, of Belenenses.

Abel Camara


Player to Watch

Liga Orangina side Belenenses has had a reputation for some time of their youth policy. Ruben Amorim, Goncalo Brandao, and Rolando all graduated from their youth academy, and the newest starlet to come through the ranks is Abel Camara.

Abel joined Belenenses at the beginning of the 2008-2009 season, and linked up with the youth team for the season. The following season, the striker was shipped away to Estrela Amadora, who was then languishing in the third division in Portugal. There, he enjoyed success, scoring six times in the season, still only aged 19. His performances caught the eye of Belenenses, who recalled him to the first team for the 2010-2011 season. He made his debut for the team on the opening day of the season against Aves, and marked it with a goal. He went on to score three more times that season, and also picked up a couple of appearances for the Portuguese Under-21 team, most notably scoring a screamer on his debut against Ireland.

Much is expected of Abel, not only for Belenenses, but also Portugal. The Portuguese National Team has lacked a true striker in recent years, and although that problem seems to be not as pressing as it once was, Abel could fit the bill. He is fast, has a tireless work rate, and has a men shot on him. He has already debuted for the country of his birth, Guiné-Bissau, but as his debut was in a friendly match, he has the capability of switching allegiances. In the meantime, the striker is appearing for Portugal’s U-21 team.

Cristiano, Ruben Dropped, Andre Pires Drafted In

Valencia goalkeeper Cristiano has been released from the Portuguese Under-21 training camp due to injury. Rui Jorge, the current Under-21 coach, has announced that he will not call up a replacement for the shot-stopper. Mika and Luis Ribeiro will now vie for a starting spot, a spot that Mika will most likely get. Both the goalkeepers were a part of the Portugal U-20 team’s recent runner-up finish at the U-20 World Cup. Mika was voted the best goalkeeper of the tournament, while Luis Ribeiro failed to make a single appearance. The choice doesn’t look a hard one.

Elsewhere in the squad, Ruben Ferreira, of Maritimo, has also been released due to injury. The left-back has been in great form this season for Maritimo, easily holding down a starting spot. Belenenses left-back Andre Pires will take his place. Pires made his debut for the U-21 team earlier this season against Slovakia.

Pele Signs for Milan


Genoa to A.C. Milan

Following his impressive displays for Portugal at the recent Under-20 World Cup, Pele has made the switch to A.C. Milan. Genoa snapped him up in the off-season, but Milan have now acquired half of his rights and get to use him next season. Pele played over 600 minutes for Portugal at the recent U-20 World Cup, and formed a solid partnership with Danilo Pereira. Those performances have caught the eye of the Italian champions, and Pele looks set to become a  Milan player shortly. There is no mention of the move on Milan’s website, but sources all across Portugal are confirming it.

Pele Signs for Genoa

Belenenses midfielder, Pele, has reportedly sealed a deal that will see him move to Genoa at the end of the season. A current Portugal U-20 international, Pele had been in talks with Genoa earlier this season, but nothing more had been reported. Now, according to reports coming out of Italy, the Italian club has tied down the promising midfielder on a 5-year deal. The midfielder tried to style his play after English legend, Steven Gerrard. Belenenses are currently sitting in the relegation zone in Portugal’s second division, after being relegated from the Liga Sagres last season.