Castro Loaned to Gijon…Again

Andre Castro will ply his trade in La Liga next season, after Porto agreed to loan him to Sporting Gijon, once again. Castro, who was called up by Portugal manager Paulo Bento for last week’s game, played the last half of last season with Gijon. At the Spanish club last season, Castro made a name for himself, not only in Spain, but also in Portugal. Before his loan, it was undecided whether he would make the grade at Porto, but there were few doubters upon his return. In his impressive eleven starts, he scored twice and helped his team immensely. With the impending arrival of Belgian international Steven Defour at Porto, Castro has decided to leave in search for playing time. Defour was once a serious target for Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, so the Belgian would definitely be picked over Castro at Porto. Many Porto fans are hoping to see Castro reproduce the form last season that saw him earn a call to the Portuguese National Team so that he can return in the future and set the Liga Zon Sagres alight.

Bento Names Squad of 21

Portugal coach Paulo Bento has named a squad of 21 for the team’s upcoming friendly with Luxembourg next week. The game is the Seleccao’s last warm-up game before their continuing Euro 2012 qualification  campaign. The most notable inclusions in Bento’s squad are Andre Castro, Nuno Gomes, and Quim. Nuno Gomes and Quim were previously Benfica stalwarts, but are both now at Braga. Both seem to be on the out for the Seleccao, but Bento evidently still has a plan for them. Andre Castro had an impressive season on loan from Porto at Sporting Gijon. The midfielder impressed a lot at Gijon, quickly establishing himself as a starter.

Goalkeepers: Eduardo (Benfica), Rui Patricio (Sporting), Quim (Braga)
Defenders: Bruno Alves (Zenit), Fabio Coentrao (Real Madrid), Joao Pereira (Sporting), Pepe (Real Madrid), Ricardo Carvalho (Real Madrid), Silvio (Atletico Madrid)
Midfielders: Castro (FC Porto), Andre Santos (Sporting), Joao Moutinho (FC Porto), Raul Meireles (Liverpool), Ruben Micael (FC Porto)
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Danny (Zenit), Hugo Almeida (Besiktas), Postiga (Sporting), Nani (Manchester United), Nuno Gomes (Braga), Varela (FC Porto)

Castro Loaned to Sporting Gijon

Porto’s 22 year-old midfielder, Andre Castro, has completed his loan move to Liga BBVA strugglers, Sporting Gijon. Castro has found playing time hard to come by at the Estadio Dragao. Castro played the past few seasons at Olhanense, and his performances were impressive enough to earn a call-up to the Porto first-team this season. He has since made most of his appearances from the bench. In order to get more playing time, Castro has left for La Liga relegation battlers Sporting Gijon on loan for the remainder of the season, without an option to buy. At the beginning of the loan negotiations, there was an option to buy, but I suppose Andre Vilas Boas has wised-up and decided that Andre Castro could be an asset to the team in the future.

Castro to Decide his Future

Porto’s young midfielder, Andre Castro, is currently considering his options after opportunities at F.C. Porto have become few. Castro, who is a regular for the Portuguese Under-21 team, spent the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 seasons on loan at Olhanense. His performances were impressive enough to earn him a stay at Porto this season, but the midfielder has found his options limited. Castro is now considering moving away from the Dragao, with Sporting Gijon his most likely destination. If the move happens, it will be a loan.

Ze Castro Rescinds Deportivo Contract

Ze Castro, who has seen limited playing time and happiness, has decided to leave Deportivo La Coruna. Ze Castro had a season to forget last season, seeing extremely limited playing time. The worst part was that in June 2009, before the start of his nightmare-ish season, he had made his debut for the Portuguese Senior National Team. He started the season strong, but it all went downhill from there. In the January transfer window, he was linked with a host of clubs, including Sporting Lisbon (who he was very close to signing for). But in the end, he stayed at the Spanish outfit. Now, with Ze Castro’s options looking even more grim, he has decided to rescind his contract on Monday. He does mention talks with other clubs, so we will most likely see him in a different jersey by the end of the transfer window. Here’s what he said: “I talked with the coach and we agreed that it would not logically play tomorrow [today] and eventually quit Monday [tomorrow], because there are talks with some clubs”

Oceano Releases Squad List for U-21 Games

Oceano released today a list of 21 for the Portuguese Under-21 team’s upcoming games against England and Macedonia. The U-21s are set to play England on September 3 at home and Macedonia at home again on September 7. One surprise inclusion on this list of 21 was Manchester United’s new signing Bebe, who has the chance to shut the critic’s mouths if he performs well. Here’s the list:

Belenenses: André Almeida
Benfica: Fábio Faria
CD Nacional: João Aurélio and Orlando Sá
Everton FC: João Silva
FC Paços de Ferreira: Bura and David Simão
FC Porto: Castro and Ukra
Leixões SC: Rui Pedro
Manchester United FC: Bebé
Portimonense SC: André Pinto, Candeias, Pedro Moreira and Ventura
Rio Ave FC: Yazalde
SC Olhanense: João Gonçalves
Sporting CP: André Santos, Daniel Carriço and Rui Patrício
Vitória SC de Guimarães: Pereirinha

Ukra and Castro to Play for Dragons

Castro in foreground, Ukra in back

Olhanense starlets Ukra and Andre Castro have been told that they will be part of F.C. Porto’s main team for the 2010-2011 season, not be loaned out again. Ukra, who has recently been courted by Newcastle and Fulham, has enjoyed an absolutely spectacular season, along with fellow compatriot Andre Castro. These two players were the backbone of the team.

FC Porto has a number of promising young players that they loan out every season. They have created a flawless system: If a player begins to show promise at a young age, they buy him for cheap and loan him out to gain experience and grow as a player. When has shown his worth as a player, they can sell him for the big bucks, or recall him to the main team.

Prime examples:

Vieirinha at Porto

Playing at Saint Etienne

1. Vieirinha – was loaned by Porto to Greek outfit PAOK. He enjoyed so much success in that season, that he was sold to the Greek team. Last season, still playing for PAOK, he was voted “Most Valuable Player” by the fans.

2. Paulo Machado – The former Portugal U-21 international was loaned out to Saint-Etienne for the 2008-2009 season. He held down a starting spot and impressed enough to be sold by Porto to another French team, Toulouse, for the 2009-2010 season. He has since thrived at his new team.

Andre Castro and Ukra are prime examples of the flawlessness of Porto’s youth cycle. Being regulars on the Portugal U-21 team, I have no doubt that these two players will thrive at Porto. Expect to see them soon.

Queiroz Releases 24-man Squad

Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz released a 24-man squad for next month’s World Cup. Due to Pepe’s questionable fitness, Queiroz released a 24-man list instead of the official 23-man list, so that if Pepe is deemed unfit, he can drop him, or if Pepe turns out to be ready, Ze Castro or Ricardo Costa can be dropped. Surprise inclusions are Beto, Daniel Fernandes, Ze Castro, and Ricardo Costa. Moutinho was not included in the squad most likely due to his mediocre season.

Here’s the list:

Goalkeepers: Eduardo (Braga), Beto (FC Porto) Daniel Fernandes (Iraklis)

Defenders: Paulo Ferreira (Chelsea), Miguel (Valencia), Fabio Coentrao (Benfica), Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea), Bruno Alves (FC Porto), Ricardo Costa (Lille), Rolando (FC Porto), Pepe (Real Madrid), Duda (Malaga) Ze Castro (Deportivo)

Midfielders: Tiago (Atletico Madrid), Deco (Chelsea), Raul Meireles (FC Porto), Miguel Veloso (Sporting), Pedro Mendes (Sporting), Danny (Zenit St Peterburg)

Wingers/Forwards: Simao Sabrosa (Atletico Madrid), Nani (Manchester United), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Liedson (Sporting), Hugo Almeida (Werder Bremen)

Queiroz also released a list of 6 reserves, just in case any of the players in the squad of 23 get injured. Rui Patricio, Joao Moutinho, Ruben Amorim, Manuel Fernandes, Eliseu and Makukula all have an outside chance of playing in the World Cup after being included in this list.

U21 Match Report: Portugal 0-2 Sweden

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)