Rony Lopes Loaned to Lille


Marcos Lopes - Portugal U19

Marcos Lopes

Manchester City to Lille (loan)

Manchester City wonderkid Rony Lopes, also known as Marcos Lopes, has joined Lille on a one-year loan deal. Still only 18, Lopes’ impressive performances for Manchester City’s U19 team, which he captained, earned him some time in City’s first team last season. Though only confined to a handful of matches in the League Cup and the FA Cup, Lopes impressed greatly. In the FA Cup tie against West Ham, many would argue that Lopes was Manchester City’s best player, assisting two goals. Not only has he made a name for himself at City, but Lopes is making waves in Portugal’s youth teams. Currently captain of Portugal’s U-19 team, he will lead the team into this summer’s UEFA U-19 European Championship. And it won’t be the first time either. Lopes played in all four of Portugal’s matches last summer, as the team was knocked out in the semifinals of last year’s edition by eventual winners Serbia. Having already made an appearance for the Portugal U-21 team at only 18, Lopes has shown that he is playing on a different level than most his age.

So, in order to provide more playing time and thus more opportunity for development, Manchester City is shipping Rony Lopes off to France. The loan is set to last all season, and with Lille finishing third last season, Champions League football is a possibility, provided they progress through the qualifying rounds. It is not announced whether the loan will have an option for Lille to purchase Lopes, but that seems very unlikely, due to his huge potential. Manchester City certainly don’t want him to go. And Lopes seems very excited about the possibility of playing regularly for a team, saying he is “eager to work hard and return stronger next year!” Here’s his full tweet:

 

Portugal Impress at Toulon


Portugal U-20s Third Place Toulon 2014

photo courtesy fpf.pt

Portugal Under-20 Team

Toulon Tournament

Third Place

The future of Portuguese football looks bright. The Portuguese under-20 team defeated England 1-0 yesterday to claim third place in this year’s edition of the Toulon Tournament. The tournament is set up for youth teams to participate, with most teams sending under-21 squads. Portugal typically sends an under-20 side, and has used the tournament as a way to prepare for the U-20 World Cup.

The team has had varying degrees of success in the past, finishing fourth last year and failing to leave the group in 2011 (just before reaching the final of the U-20 World Cup). This year, the team surprised everyone, finishing third. Let’s look at how they made it there.

The team was coached by Ilidio Vale, who has been at the helm since 2010, guiding the team in two U-20 World Cups and two Toulon Tournaments previous to this tournament. The coach chose commanding Sporting Lisbon defender Tobias Figueiredo as the team’s captain. Other notable players included in the squad were Ruben Vezo, who squeezed his way into Valencia’s first team at the end of the season, Joao Cancelo, who made his debut for Benfica’s first team at the end of the season and is a regular for Benfica B, Ricardo Horta, who played a vital role in Vitoria Setubal’s impressive run this season, and Bruno Fernandes, who made 23 first team appearances for Udinese this season. And indeed it was these players who performed well for Portugal at the tournament, each playing a role in the third place finish.

Portugal were grouped with Mexico, Chile, France, and China in Group A. After duly dispatching Mexico with two deflected goals from Joao Teixeira and Helder Costa, the Portuguese continued their march on with another impressive victory, this time over Chile. Goals from Leandro Silva, a beautiful individual effort from Helder Costa, and Bruno Fernandes ensured the team defeated Chile 3-1. Next, the team faced a Chinese side that tied hosts France 1-1. Not thinking twice, Portugal defeated China 4-1, with Ricardo Horta scoring twice and Ruben Semedo and Helder Costa picking up the other goals. To qualify for the final, Portugal needed to defeat France in their final Group A game, and despite their best efforts, Portugal fell 2-1 to France, thus finishing second in the group, qualifying for the third-place match.

England were the other second-placed team in the tournament, meaning that they would be Portugal’s opponents in the third-place match. Portugal and England have a long footballing rivalry, with both the countries’ senior teams meeting in Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup. On both of those occasions, Portugal came out on top of the rivalry, and this time out, Portugal managed a win again. Ricardo Horta scored the only goal of the game, which was enough for Portugal to edge out England 1-0 and claim third-place for the 2014 Toulon Tournament.

Jose Goncalves Loaned to Revolution


Jose Goncalves - Hearts

Jose Goncalves

Sion to New England Revolution (Loan)

In a bizarre move, Sion’s Jose Goncalves has moved on loan to MLS side New England Revolution. The defender has only featured once for the Swiss club this term, so this move was most likely made in search of playing time. Goncalves was quoted, saying: “I am happy to play for the Revolution and start a new chapter in my career.” The defender is certainly well traveled, having played in Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy before this move.

Vaz Te Rejects Contract Extension


According to reports coming out of England, Barnsley striker Ricardo Vaz Te has rejected the club’s approach of a contract extension. Vaz Te’s contract is due to expire at the end of the season, and due to his recent form, the club is eager to renew it. Perhaps a catalyst for this decision was the striker’s hat-trick against Leeds United on New Years eve. In fact, Vaz te has been performing admirably since joining Barnsley in the summer. The striker has hit the back of the net ten times in nineteen appearances, which is an impressive return.

 

Everton Loans out Silva


English Premier League giants Everton have loaned out their U-21 international, Joao Silva, to UD Leiria, for the remainder of the season. Joao Silva moved from Aves, in the Liga Orangina, to Everton, in the English Premier League, over the summer for a fee believed to be around 1 million pounds. Silva has since not found any playing time at the club, although his talent has been shown well for the Portuguese Under-21 team. Joao Silva broke onto the Portuguese football scene last season after he finished the season (his debut season) in second overall on the goalscoring charts for the Liga Vitalis. Everton were quick to snap him up, and after an assuring pre-season, Silva was given a first team number, and has spent much of his time with the first team. Now, he will join Lieira on loan, where he will hope to gain some playing time.

Sporting Duo Linked with Italy


Nuno Andre Coelho and Pedro Mendes have been at the heart of some transfer speculation regarding a possible move to Italy. Coelho made the switch from Porto to Sporting in the summer as part of the deal that saw Moutinho go the other way. The defender has done well since the move, well enough to earn a call-up to the Portuguese National Team. Napoli, Samdoria, and Palermo are all courting him, with West Brom, in England, also said to be interested. Formal contact has been made, according to the player’s agent.

Pedro Mendes, who made the move from Rangers to Sporting last season, has also been in the middle of speculation regarding his future at the club. Bologna and Naples are the teams said to be interested in the defensive midfielder, who starred at the World Cup for Portugal last summer. According to reports, Mendes could leave for around 2 million euros.

Fulham Tracking Zeca


Vitoria Setubal attacking midfielder Zeca is reportedly a target for English Premiership side Fulham. A representative from the English club was supposedly in the stands at the game against Sporting on Monday, checking out the 22 year-old. Zeca has been in fine form this season, most notably capped with a goal against Sporting in the cup. It’s not just Fulham. Other unnamed clubs have joined the race for his signature.

Yannick Tracked by English Clubs


Sporting forward Yannick Djalo,who is reportedly unhappy with his situation at Sporting, is being tracked by a host of English clubs. Yannick, as he is called, was supposedly very close to a move to Tottenham in the summer, but the move never materialized. Genoa, more recently, were said to be interested in the 24 year-old. Reports suggest that Tottenham, Fulham, and Everton are now in a race for his signature. These reports also suggest that these clubs are much more interested now than they were during the summer, so a move may be more likely.

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