Primeira Preview & Prediction (PPP) – Round 21


Will Hernani return to haunt his former club?

Will Hernani return to haunt his former club?

It’s the weekend of love in the Liga NOS and around the world, and, dare I say, I’m in quite the jovial mood with regards to my predictions. But, much like being in a relationship, that feeling of warmth can dissipate rather quickly.

Now, I’m still fighting an uphill battle with a 14-22 overall record up to this point, but, things are starting to improve and I’m starting to show a little consistency in this game. Last week saw me go 4-5 for the second round in a row and, with the exception of that disastrous 1-8 result a couple of weeks ago, I’ve pretty much been hovering around the .500 mark. I don’t know about you but that’s a lot better than I expected when I decided to give this series a go.

This is a new round though – the 21st round of play in the newly named Liga NOS – and, from the looks of it, it’s going to be quite an interesting one to take in.

Last week was all about unpredictability what with all the changes in personnel over the days prior, and well, we certainly got some in the results. In particular, it seemed like no lead was safe as, of the 21 goals scored in total, 8 of them came in the last 10 minutes of the game. It was quite the spectacle and reminded me of why I love this league and Portuguese football so much.

Building on the events of the last couple of weeks, and, the idea of unpredictability itself, the theme for this week seems to be identity. Or, to put it another way – who are we and what are we made of?

This is, in a lot of ways, a make or break weekend for every team in the league. Teams like Academica, Arouca, and even Guimaraes may just find themselves sitting disheveled on the couch eating a tub of ice cream asking “What if…?” at the end of the season if they don’t turn things around as soon as possible. And, what of Penafiel and Sporting? Will they be able to bounce back and continue to play well following heartbreaking results?

This weekend, perhaps more than most other weekends, will go a long way towards determining what the league table looks like at the end of the year, and, I think many of these clubs are aware of that. So, don’t be surprised to see a number of cagey matches over the next few days. Teams will not only be looking to be cautious with their opponents, but, in a philosophical sense, they’ll be looking to discover themselves as well.

Here are my picks for this Valentine’s round of play:     Continue reading

U-19s Qualify for Elite Round


Renato Sanches - Portugal U19

Renato Sanches is one of the stars of the team. Pictured here after scoring against Albania. Photo from FPF.PT

Following three successive wins, the Portuguese Under-19 team has qualified for the Elite Qualification round for next summer’s UEFA U-19 European Championship. Led by rising stars such as Renato Sanches, Gil Dias, and Goncalo Guedes, the team qualified with relative ease, which shows just how strong Portugal’s youth system is at the moment. Should Portugal qualify for next summer’s tournament, it will be the fourth year in a row that the team has managed an appearance in the competition. That statistic is encouraging, and with players such as Marcos Lopes, Bernardo Silva, Andre Gomes, Joao Mario, and Bruma in recent years, there is every reason that this current group of U-19s is destined for success.  Continue reading

Braga Youngster on His Way to France


Gil Dias - Braga U19

Gil Dias

SC Braga to AS Monaco

According to reports, Braga youth prospect Gil Dias has agreed to a January transfer to Ligue 1 outfit AS Monaco for a fee believed to be around 5 million euros. Earlier in the season, there were hints that a deal had already been agreed between the two clubs, and that Dias would spend the first half of the season in Portugal before moving to France in January. More recent reports suggest that that rumor may turn out to be true, with Dias set to join fellow countrymen Bernardo Silva, Joao Moutinho, and Ricardo Carvalho at Monaco soon. Continue reading

Granada Signs Luis Martins


Luis Martins - Gil Vicente

Luis Martins

Gil Vicente to Granada

Portugal U-21 captain Luis Martins has sealed a move abroad to Spain, signing for La Liga side Granada on a four-season deal. The left-back had been at Gil Vicente ever since January of 2013, when he arrived from Benfica. At Gil Vicente, Martins established himself as the team’s first-choice left back, a status that he held for his entire time at the club. There is no fee announced for the transfer, but it is expected that Luis Martins will be at least a regular team member at Granada. The Spanish team had been searching for a left-back for some time, and Martins is who they chose.

Transfer Round-up – 1/26/14


Pedro Mendes - SassuoloPedro Mendes

Parma to Sassuolo

After a limited amount of playing time so far for Serie A side Parma, Pedro Mendes has sealed a free transfer to league-strugglers Sassuolo.

Hugo Vieira - BragaHugo Vieira

Braga to Gil Vicente (loan)

After moving to Braga from Benfica this summer, Vieira has found playing time hard to come by this season. In the opportunities he was given at Braga, Vieira failed to impress. Now, Vieira will join the club where he made his start seasons ago.

Betinho - Vitoria SetubalBetinho

Sporting to Vitoria Setubal (loan)

After impressing this season for Sporting B, scoring nine in 17 games, Betinho will now have his first opportunity at playing in the Liga Zon Sagres, joining Vitoria Setubal on loan until the end of the season.

Salvador Agra - AcademicaSalvador Agra

Real Betis to Academica (loan)

Salvador Agra has joined Academica on loan until the end of the season after a disappointing loan spell at Braga during the first half of the season.

Andre GomesAndre Gomes

Benfica to ?

Benfica announced today that Andre Gomes has been sold to an unnamed team for 15 million euros. After a promising start to his Benfica career, Gomes has found playing time very limited, and although Matic has departed the team for Chelsea, it does not appear that Gomes will see more playing time. Liverpool have been touted to make a move for the midfielder, and Anfield could very well be where Gomes ends up at the end of the day.

Transfer Update 1/9/14


Happy new years everyone! Transfer stories in Portugal have been few and far between thusfar this transfer window, but here are the major moves.

Luis Silva - PortugalLuis Silva

Braga to Gil Vicente (loan)

Braga purchased Luis Silva in the summer after a highly impressive spell at Liga Orangina side Leixoes last season. The midfielder became a vital cog in Leixoes midfield, playing 38 games and finding the net seven times, while still only 20 years old. A big move beckoned for Silva, and Braga won the race to his signature, signing him for around 800,000 euros. Silva has found playing time hard to come by this season, however, and has only managed four appearances for the Arsenalistas so far this season. Silva will join Gil Vicente on loan until the end of the season.

Joao Mario - Portugal U-21Joao Mario

Sporting to Vitoria Setubal (loan)

After some impressive performances both last season and summer, Joao Mario will get his chance to play in the Liga Zon Sagres regularly, after Vitoria Setubal agreed to take the midfielder on loan until the end of the season. Joao Mario was one of the Portugal U20 team’s most important players at last summer, running the team’s midfield to perfection, leading the team to the second round of the competition. The midfielder has been playing for Sporting’s B team this season, despite his hopes of first team soccer this season. This move will give Joao a bigger stage to display his undoubted talent.

Quaresma - Porto 2014Ricardo Quaresma

Free Agent to Porto

Ricardo Quaresma has returned home. The winger’s time at the Estadio Dragao were the finest of his career, winning multiple league player of the season accolades. Quaresma was able to be signed for free after his contract was terminated at Al Ahli Dubai after less than one season. The winger has signed a 2.5 year deal, with many curious to see if he can reproduce the skill that made him so popular earlier in his career.