Porto Sells Tiago Ferreira


photo courtesy voetbalkrant.com

photo courtesy voetbalkrant.com

Tiago Ferreira 

Porto to Zulte Waregem

Porto B‘s long-serving captain Tiago Ferreira has been sold by the club to Zulte Waregem, a Belgian Pro League club. Ferreira, who has captained the B-team for two seasons, is seen by many to be one of Portuguese football’s top prospects. Only 21, the center defender has two seasons with Porto B under his belt, as well as appearances at two FIFA U-20 World Cups and a couple of U-21 caps. Much is expected of Ferreira, so the question goes begging: Why let him leave?

The answer is a simple one, rooted in a fundamental change in big-club operations in recent years. Ferreira has signed with the Belgian team on a 4-year contract. Though it has not been confirmed, it may be assumed that this transfer is similar to that of Josue. Josue was an equally precocious talent during his youth days at Porto, but was sold to Pacos Ferreira. Under the agreement of sale, Porto retained the right to purchase back Josue at a set price whenever they wanted to. And after two seasons at Pacos, Josue was re-purchased by Porto, where he was largely in the first team. It proved a successful tactic for Porto, who could viably develop their prospects who were not yet developed enough for the first team. And it is more advantageous than a simple loan, as selling a player to a club and having the player stay at that club for more than one season allows him to settle in better and become a valued member of the team.

So, why Zulte? Why not another team in Portugal? There is no easy answer to this, but one may speculate that Ferreira was sold to Zulte due to the club’s rising stature in European football. The club greatly benefited from the presence of Thorgan Hazard, the brother of Belgian star Eden, over the past two seasons. His 14 goals last season helped the club to a 4th placed finish, earning them a Europa League qualification play-off tie. So with Europa League football a strong possibility at a club where Ferreira can conceivably nail down a starting position, this move was an ideal one for Porto. Who knows? If this goes well, we could very well see Tiago Ferreira playing for the Seleccao in two years time.

U20 World Cup Starlets: Midfielders and Forwards Season Update


Following Portugal’s stellar performance at the recent U-20 World Cup, many wondered whether the crop of players who went so far in the tournament would continue their form for their club teams. Let’s take a look at how the 2011-2012 season is going for each of those young, talented players.

Midfielders

Pele – The midfielder joined Genoa from Belenenses before last summer’s U-20 World Cup, but due to his solid performances, Milan snatched him up soon after the tournament ended. He has since been cycled into their youth setup, currently with the U-20 team. Pele recently made his debut for the Portugal U-21 team.

Julio Alves – Much like Pele, Julio Alves was transferred to one club, only to turn around and move again, without having even played a match. Julio Alves, who is the younger brother of Bruno Alves, was transferred to Atletico Madrid from Rio Ave. On the last day of the transfer window, however, Besiktas snapped him up. He has only made the bench once for Besiktas, but has managed to debut for the Portugal U-21 team.

Sana – The midfielder who was so instrumental in Portugal’s success at the U-20 World Cup has not had an equally impressive season. Sana only just managed his debut last week, which came from the substitute’s bench. As the season progresses, Sana will most likely become more of an integral part of Valladolid’s first team. Sana also made his debut with the Portugal U-21 team.

Alex – The Santa Clara midfielder, who most memorably scored in the final against Brazil at the U-20 World Cup, is enjoying a successful season. Alex has made seven appearances in all competitions so far this season, scoring three times. All signs are pointing to this being the breakout season for Alex.

Danilo Pereira – Pereira has mainly been playing for Parma’s top youth squad this season. This may seem a bit unfair as his performances at the U-20 World Cup suggested that he was ready to play at a higher level, but he will continue to develop while in the youth team. Pereira was called up early for the Portugal U-21 team for their upcoming matches next month.

Sergio Oliveira – The Porto prospect has been playing this season on loan at Belgian side Mechelen from Porto. Oliveira enjoyed a successful debut season last term for Liga Zon Sagres side Beira-Mar. The midfielder has played in four league matches for the Belgian team this season, and is continuing to look to impress.

Ricardo Dias – Having been released from Porto, Beira-Mar snapped up the midfielder quickly. Dias was mainly used as a substitute during the U-20 World Cup, and looks to be used similarly at Beira-Mar this season. He has yet to make his league debut, but has appeared on the bench for almost every game this season.

Forwards

Nelson Oliveira – The star of the show last summer has tried heroically to continue his form this season for Benfica’s first team, where coach Jorge Jesus stated Oliveira would spend the season. His efforts paid off as he made his official debut for the club, in a cup game. Oliveira has also made his debut for the Portugal U-21 team, and even started against Russia.

Amidio Balde – Balde has made five appearances so far this season for Cercle Brugge, where he is on loan from Sporting Lisbon. In those five appearances, the striker picked up his first, and only so far, goal for the club.

Caetano – 2010/2011 was a good debut season for Caetano. In fact, the diminutive striker was a revelation in the league last season. This season has not been as kind to him, however. Caetano has failed to find the net in the five times he has appeared this season for Pacos Ferreira.

Rafael Lopes – The striker with the afro who scored a lot got a haircut before the U-20 World Cup, and hasn’t scored since. Lopes racked up ten goals last season for Varzim, but has not scored yet this season. He has actually been quite awful.

Serginho – Serginho was transferred from Trofense to Beira-Mar at the end of the transfer window this August, but has yet to make an impact. The forward did not make a single appearance for the U-20 team during their World Cup run, even though he was integral to Trofense last season.

Rudy Dreams of Representing the Seleccao


Enjoying his impressive start to the season, Rudy has expressed his desire to represent Portugal internationally at some point in his career. The striker currently sits in third in the top scorers list in the Belgian League with five goals. Virtually unknown before the start of the season, Rudy has surprised all with his eye for goal and intelligent link up play. The striker is excited as to how his career is currently going, and one of his goals is to represent the Portuguese National team. “Everything’s happened very quickly, faster than I expected it to. This means I’m doing well, I’ve been helping the team and that’s the most important thing. I strive to improve myself so that I can achieve my objectives and those of Cercle. My dream is to represent the Portuguese national team, but to do that I have to work hard,” said the striker.

Rudi Scoring for Fun


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