New England’s Jose Goncalves has been around. Currently playing in America, the Portuguese defender has also played in Switzerland, Italy, Lithuania, Scotland, and Germany. Now with the New England Revolution in America’s Major League Soccer, Goncalves has found his niche in the team. Now captain and a regular starter at the Revolution, Goncalves has found a home, for really the first time in his career. Continue reading
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.
Sporting to Lazio
Lazio announced today the hiring of Sporting Lisbon’s Bruno Pereirinha. The contract is valid until 2016, and there was no talk of the price of the transfer. Pereirinha had been a fringe player throughout his time at Sporting, despite positive performances for the Portugal Under-21 team as captain. His inability to hold down a starting place at Sporting was likely a contributing factor to this move to Lazio. Now, at Lazio, Pereirinha will most likely be fighting Abdoulay Konko for a starting spot at right-midfield. This is no small task, however, as Konko has been Lazio’s first choice right-midfielder for the past two seasons, and with Lazio still in the Serie A title race, change may not happen. Pereirinha may yet again be a fringe player.
Due to Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence because of injury, he will pass on the armband to Ricardo Carvalho. Carvalho has captained the Seleccao before, such as against Estonia in 2009, and it looks like he will again for Portugal’s upcoming two qualifying games. I personally do not agree with this choice. Bruno Alves shows worlds more leadership, but Carvalho has been with the Seleccao longer, which is most likely why this decision was made.
Lately, the Portugal Under-21 Team has started to impress, most notably with their 2-1 win over Greece. I was quite optimistic about this game, and was getting more optimistic about the team. But, for some reason, the Portuguese youth teams somehow manage not to impress, even with the talent-packed teams they have. I rushed home today expecting to find a 1 or 2-0 win for Portugal. Oh how I was disappointed.
Portugal were on the front foot starting this game, with Fabio Faria and Adrien Silva both failing to capitalize on their chances. Soon after, Ukra created some space for a cross with a series of beautifully executed step-overs; however when he crossed it in, Bruno Pereirinha wasn’t able to keep his header down. Later, Pereirinha tried his luck with a right-footed shot, but the ball glided wide of the goal. Next, Ukra received the ball on the edge of the box and cut in, but his curling shot was just wide. Sweden broke the deadlock when Fejzullahu finished off a flawless cross. Candeias, trying to get Portugal back in the game, lifted his shot over the bar. Just after, Sweden made it two when Avdic headed in from the corner.
Portugal:Ventura(Diego Silva), Joao Goncalves(Candeias), Miguel Vitor, Andre Pinto, Fabio Faria(Ruben Lima), Adrien Silva, Castro(Pedro Moreira), Andre Santos(Rui Pedro), Rabiola(Diogo Salomão), Perierinha, Ukra(Yazalde)