Portugal Edge England


João Mário celebrates his goal

João Mário celebrates his goal

England 0-1 Portugal

2015 U-21 European Championship

In an entertaining and tight contest, the Portuguese defeated England in both teams’ first match of the 2015 UEFA U-21 European Championship. João Mário scored the solitary goal of the match, which was all that separated two very even teams. Portugal’s play was much improved over the last time the team met England, which was in a friendly match late last year. In that match, Portugal struggled to control the midfield. In this match, Portugal held their own. Continue reading

Cédric Seals Southampton Move


Cedric - Southampton

Photo: Southampton Football Club

Cédric Soares

Sporting to Southampton

After days of transfer speculation, Southampton announced today that they had completed a deal for 23 year-old Cédric Soares. As part of the deal, Cédric joins on a four-year deal, with Sporting Lisbon set to receive 6.5 million euros for his services. Cédric has been linked with a move away from the Estádio José Alvalade for some time now, and this move makes sense, as he will join fellow countryman José Fonte. Continue reading

Jose Goncalves: New England’s Portuguese Captain


Goncalves at the Revolution. Photo: revolutionsoccer.net

Goncalves at the Revolution. Photo: revolutionsoccer.net

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

Sporting Prospect Loaned to Brentford


Photo: Brentford Football Club

Photo: Brentford Football Club

Betinho

Sporting to Brentford (loan)

Sporting B’s Betinho has joined Championship side Brentford on loan until the end of the season, both clubs have confirmed. Betinho divided his time last season between Sporting B (in the Segunda Liga) and Vitoria Setubal (in the Primeira Liga). Despite impressing in the first half of last season for Sporting B, where he scored nine goals in the first half of the season, Betinho could not replicate those numbers after January while on loan at Vitoria Setubal. During his time in Setubal, Betinho did not even manage a single goal, and was mostly used in a back-up role.

Brentford returned to the second tier of English football this season after a 21 year hiatus, and appears to be a club that is willing to experiment. It is unclear as to what role Betinho will play at the club, whether it be as a starter or as a super-sub. One hopes that Betinho will thrive in the highly-physical league due to his body-build and playing style.

 

Silvestre Varela Loaned to West Brom


Varela - Portugal V Luxembourg

Silvestre Varela

Porto to West Bromwich Albion (loan)

After first-team chances looked slim this pre-season, Porto winger Silvestre Varela has left the club on loan. The winger, who had been an undisputed starter over the past few seasons now will join English Premier League side West Brom on loan until the end of the season. There is no mention of whether or not West Brom will have the option to sign him at the end of the loan, but with his Porto future up in the air, there’s every possibility an option does exist. 

After a disappointing 2013/2014 campaign, Porto renovated their squad heavily. Head coach Paulo Fonseca was sacked and was replaced by former Spanish U-21 team head coach Julien Lopetegui. With Lopetegui came a host of Spanish players, including Adrian (Atletico Madrid), Oliver Torres (Atletico Madrid), and Cristian Tello (Barcelona). Other players were brought in from clubs such as Real Madrid, Granada, and Feyenoord. These signings spelled the end of Varela’s time at Porto, at least temporarily. 

Though Varela is taking a step backwards in term of quality of club (from Porto to West Brom), he is certainly stepping up in terms of league quality. The English Premier League has formed a reputation for being one of the most competitive leagues in existence at the moment. Varela will now have the opportunity to play against some of the finest opposition in world football, which will do nothing but help his chances of appearing for the Portuguese National Team. 

Tiago Ilori Joins Bordeaux on Loan from Liverpool


Tiago Ilori - Liverpool presentation

Tiago Ilori

Liverpool to Bordeaux (loan)

Liverpool and Portugal U-21 central defender Tiago Ilori has joined Ligue 1 side Bordeaux on a season-long loan from English Premier League side Liverpool until the end of the season. This loan comes as little surprise, after the arrival of Dejan Lovren at Liverpool. The club’s signing of Lovren meant that had Ilori stayed at Liverpool, he would have had to compete with no less than six central defenders, including seasoned internationals Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho.

This is not the first time Ilori has been loaned by Liverpool, having spent the second-half of last season on loan in Spain with Granada. Ilori impressed during his time at the Spanish club, and will hope for similar exposure this time in France. According to the details of the loan, Ilori will stay at the club until the end of the season, and there is no option for Bordeaux to make the loan permanent. Should this loan prove successful, we could see Ilori in the Portuguese National Team in the foreseeable future.

Tiago Mendes Returns to Chelsea


Tiago Mendes-Chelsea 2004-2005

Tiago (left) during his first stint with Chelsea, when he helped Chelsea to its first league title in 50 years. Photo courtesy express.co.uk

After a stellar season at Atletico Madrid which saw the team win the league and reach the final of the Champions League, Tiago Mendes is set to rejoin Jose Mourinho at English giants Chelsea. This will be Tiago’s second stint at the English club, after representing the team during the 2004-2005 season, also during Mourinho’s first season at Chelsea. An integral part of Atletico Madrid’s much-hailed midfield last season, Tiago found himself in arguably the finest form of his career at the advanced age of 33. He was in such fine form that he publicly regretted his decision to retire from the Portuguese National Team following the 2010 World Cup. At the time, it looked as if the midfielder’s career was on the steep decline, despite positive performances for Portugal at the aforesaid World Cup.

At the time of his international retirement, Tiago was languishing at Juventus, having only managed 7 league appearances during the first half of the previous season.  A loan to Atletico Madrid was arranged in January of 2010 (still prior to the World Cup), and the midfielder showed his worth, making 18 league appearances in the latter half of the season. After a successful half season and a positive World Cup campaign, another loan was arranged for the 2010-2011 season. But this time it was a season-long loan. Tiago continued to perform well for the Spanish club, managing 31 league appearances. After the loan expired, Tiago was purchased outright by Atletico on a two year contract. Since that time, Tiago has established himself as a tactically-sound asset to the team. He’s not the player he once was, but his knowledge of the game has grown immensely-an attribute he showed to perfection this season.

Many are speculating that Tiago’s move to Chelsea is one that will see him become part of the team’s backroom staff after his playing days are over. He was signed on a two-year deal, which will see him under contract until he is 35 years old, a prime age for retirement. There have been no secrets about his relationship with Jose Mourinho, and many are speculating that Tiago may have been signed to become Mourinho’s assistant a few years down the road. Will this happen? Only time will tell. For the mean time, Chelsea have signed an experienced player who was at the heart of one of the finest underdog stories of last season.