Siena Negotiating With Dinamo Over Neto


Luis Neto - Siena

Luis Neto

Siena to Dinamo Kiev?

According to reports coming out of Portugal, Siena is currently negotiating with Dinamo Kiev over the transfer of Luis Neto. The central defender has been a bright spot in Siena’s dismal campaign. The club currently sits at the base of Serie A, and relegation looks likely. Clubs such as Juventus, Napoli, and Roma have been interested in Neto, and a move looks likely. A release clause is set at 16 million euros, but something as low as 6 million may be enough to pry him away from Siena. If he were to move to Dinamo Kiev, he would join up with fellow countryman Miguel Veloso.

Agra Loaned to Siena


Salvador Agra - Portugal vs Albania - U-21

Salvador Agra

Real Betis to Siena (loan)

Real Betis have decided to loan out Salvador Agra to Serie A side Siena until the end of the season. Currently in last position in the Serie A, Siena are looking for reinforcements to help with the relegation battle. Real Betis, on the other hand, is flying high in La Liga, and is looking to consolidate their squad. Agra moved to Betis this past summer, after impressive performances for the Portuguese Under-21 team and for Olhanense. He has found playing time relatively plentiful, but has not quite adapted to the league. Now, he will join up with fellow countryman Luis Neto, who he played with in his earlier days at Varzim, and attempt to battle away for Siena.

Luis Martins Loaned to Gil Vicente


Luis Martins - Benfica

Luis Martins

Benfica B to Gil Vicente (Loan)

Benfica B’s left-back and captain Luis Martins has been loaned to Liga Zon Sagres side Gil Vicente until the end of the season. The defender featured briefly in Benfica’s campaign last season, making four appearances in the league, and one in the Champions League. This season, however, with the inclusion of B teams into Portuguese football, Martins was demoted to the B team, in the Liga Orangina, and made captain. His performances for the team have been stellar. From left-back, he has already scored two goals, and he has led the team to success in the league. Now, it is evident that his skills warrant playing in a higher league. Gil Vicente have come knocking, and Martins will likely be a fixture in the side for the remainder of the season.

Pacienca Takes Deportivo Helm


Domingos Pacienca

Domingos Pacienca has been named Deportivo la Coruna’s new head coach, following the sacking of Jose Luis Oltra. Pacienca becomes the club’s first Portuguese manager in their 100+ year history, and much is expected of him. Deportivo currently sits rock bottom of the La Liga table, with only twelve points in 17 games. His contract runs until the end of the season, and the Portuguese manager, who most famously led Braga to 2nd in the Liga Zon Sagres in the 2009-2010 season, faces a monumental task. Deportivo currently has seven Portuguese players on the books, and fans hope that he can get the most out of his fellow countrymen.

Rui Jorge Begins New Cycle


Portugal U-21 coach Rui Jorge, who recently signed a three year contract extension, has named a completely new squad for the team’s upcoming friendly match against Ukraine on October 15th. Jorge called up only two players who had previously represented the U-21 team (Sergio Oliveira and Luis Martins). The rest have never played for the U-21 team. This squad is thought to be the start of a new cycle, and will likely be the ones who battle for qualification for the 2015 U-21 Euro. Here’s the full squad:

Goalkeepers: Daniel Fernandes (Bochum), Joao Pinho (Oliveirense), Luis Ribeiro (Sporting B)

Defenders: Andre Costa (Rio Ave), David Bruno (Porto B), Josue (Vitoria Guimaraes B), Luis Martins (Benfica B), Miguel Lourenco (Vitoria Setubal), Paulo Oliveira (Vitoria Guimaraes ), Ricardo Ferreira (Empoli), Rui Coentrao (Varzim)

Midfielders: Edu (Porto B), Francisco Junior (Everton), Amorim (Trofense), Sergio Oliveira (Porto B), Tiago Rodrigues (Vitoria Guimaraes), William (Cercle Brugge)

Forwards: Alberto Seidi (Southampton), Aldair (Penafiel), To Mane (Vitoria Guimaraes B), Fabio Nunes (Blackburn Rovers), Paulinho (Trofense), Luis Gustavo (Barcelona B)

Rui Jorge Calls on 20 for Ukraine Friendly


Portugal U-21 team coach Rui Jorge called on twenty players for the team’s upcoming friendly match against Ukraine. The team is currently sitting in second in their U-21 Euro qualification group, behind Russia, and will look to continue their good form and push for the number one spot, and will use this friendly as a springboard towards that goal. Four players who featured at last summer’s U-20 World Cup made the team, those being Danilo, Mika, Luis Martins, and Cedric.

Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Mika (Benfica)

Defenders: Cédric (Académica), Ivo Pinto (U. Leiria), João Pereira (FC Sheriff), Luís Martins (Benfica), Pedro Mendes (Real Madrid), Ruben Ferreira (Marítimo), Vítor Bastos (Atlético)

Midfielders: Ludovic (Feirense), André Almeida (Benfica), André Martins (Sporting), Danilo (Parma), David Simão (Académica), Diogo Amado (Estoril), Josué (P. Ferreira)

Forwards: Abel Camará (Beira-Mar), Rui Fonte (Español), Salvador Agra (Olhanense), Wilson Eduardo (Olhanense)

U-21 Squad Announced


Portugal U-21 coach Rui Jorge has named a squad of 21 for a training session during next week. The team is preparing for the upcoming U-21 Euro qualifying matches, and will hope to build on what has arguably been a successful campaign thus far.

Goalkeepers: Luis Ribeiro (Camacha), Mika (Benfica), Anthony Lopes (Lyon)

Defenders: Cedric (Academica), Andre Almeida (Benfica), Luis Martins (Benfica), Ivo Pinto (Leiria), Roderick (Servette), Pedro Mendes (Real Madrid)

Midfielders: Pedro Coronas (Penafiel), David Simao (Academica), Flavio Ferreira (Academica), Pele (Milan), Diogo Rosado (Feirense), Ludovic (Feirense), Josue (Pacos Ferreira), Paulo Grilo (Santa Clara)

Forwards: Abel (Belenenses), Nelson Oliveira (Benfica), Fredy (Libolo), Joao Silva (Vitoria Setubal)

Luis Martins Debuts for Benfica


In last night’s Champions League match between Benfica and Basel, Portuguese youngster debuted for Benfica. 2011 has been a stellar year for the left-back. After helping Portugal reach the final of the U-20 World Cup, Benfica coach Jorge Jesus announced that Martins would stay with the first team along with fellow countrymen Nelson Oliveira, Mika, and Ruben Pinto. Many tipped Mika and Nelson Oliveira for playing time this season, after their stellar performances at the U-20 World Cup. Everyone was surprised, however, when Jorge Jesus named Martins in the team’s Champions League squad ahead of experienced (and World Cup and Euro-winning) Joan Capdevila. Since then, Luis Martins has found himself on the bench for two Liga Zon Sagres matches. For the Champions League match last night, Benfica’s first-choice left-back, Emerson, was suspended, and Luis Martins got the nod to make not only his Benfica debut, but also his Champions League debut, all in one night. Luis performed admirable enough, especially when you consider that he is still only 19 years of age. The defender has been dubbed the new Fabio Coentrao, due to his dribbling style and quickness, and many are looking forward to him fulfilling this comparison.

U20 World Cup Starlets: Goalkeepers and Defenders Season Update


Following Portugal’s stellar performance at the recent U-20 World Cup, many wondered whether the crop of players who went so far in the tournament would continue their form for their club teams. Let’s take a look at how the 2011-2012 season is going for each of those young, talented players.

Goalkeepers

Mika – The best goalkeeper of the tournament was swiftly snapped up by league giants Benfica, but has since found playing time non-existent. While he has appeared a couple of times for the Portugal U-21 team, he has not been as lucky at Benfica. He is currently third in the pecking order, behind Artur Moraes and Eduardo, first and second respectively.

Tiago Maia – Maia is in a similar predicament as Mika, only instead of moving to a big club in the summer, he dropped down a division to promotion-hopefuls Santa Clara. The playing time hasn’t come as easily as he must have expected, however. He is third in the goalkeeping order, behind Stefanovic and Brice. Maia has only appeared on the bench twice, and is yet to make his official debut.

Luis Ribeiro – Last but not least on the list of goalkeepers is Luis Ribeiro, currently on loan at Sertanense from Sporting. Sertanense is currently competing in the third division in Portugal, but nevertheless, Ribeiro has yet to make an appearance for the club.

Defenders

Tiago Ferreira – The David Luiz lookalike has not featured for Porto’s first team, which comes as no surprise as he is still 18 years old. He has been a regular for the team’s youth setup, and continues to be a player to watch for the future.

Nuno Reis – The U-20 captain has built off what was a successful first season in Belgium last term. The defender has made five appearances so far this season, helping Cercle Brugge, where he is on loan from Sporting Lisbon, to second in the Belgian league.

Roderick – Clearly the second choice for the U-20 team’s center defense, his pairing with Nuno Reis was one to remember. Currently on loan from Benfica to Swiss side Servette, Roderick has excelled. The defender has played in six of Servette’s matches this season, and looks to have a successful season.

Cedric Soares – The right back/right midfielder/everything else has joined Academica on loan from Sporting Lisbon for the entire season. At Academica, he has established himself as their first-choice right-back. In doing this, he has also put in a case for a starting spot in the Portugal U-21 team.

Luis Martins – Benfica coach Jorge Jesus surprised everyone when he named Martins over Joan Capdevila in the team’s Champions League squad. By doing that, he was hinting that Martins could become Benfica’s second choice left-back. He has since appeared on the bench three times, further confirming the theory that he is their second-choice left back at age 19.

Mario Rui – The left-back has joined Serie B side Gubbio on loan from Parma. Rui was snapped up by Parma in the off-season, but was immediately loaned out to Gubbio to gain experience. The defender has since made six appearances, mainly from the substitute’s bench, all the while staking a claim for a starting spot in the Portugal U-21 team.

Portuguese Settle For Draw


The Portuguese National Under-20 Team settled for a draw tonight against Uruguay. Both Portugal and Uruguay controlled the game from time to time and were, overall, even. Portugal showed more possession in the first half of play, but Uruguay stepped up their game in the second half and shackled Portugal’s play. Both teams came close at times, most notably when Sergio Oliveira hit the post with a marvelous free-kick, and when Uruguay’s captain, Diego Polenta, rattled the crossbar with a long-range effort.

Overall, Portugal played a defensive, possession-first game. The service to the forwards was not always the best, with Sana to be partially at fault. Danilo Pereira and Pele both excelled in their defensive midfield duties, but they would often leave Sana and Sergio Oliveira to do most of the creative attacking work in the midfield, due to their defensive approach. By far the most important aspect of the team was the defense. Nuno Reis and Roderick were water-tight, shutting down Uruguayan advances all night. The outside backs (Cedric and Luis Martins) were solid also.

Mika, Nuno Reis, Roderick, Luis Martins, Cedric, Pele (Julio Alves), Danilo Pereira, Sana (Tiago Ferreira), Sergio Oliveira, Nelson Oliveira, Rafael Lopes (Alex)

Player Ratings:

Mika: 7 : Benfica’s new signing certainly lived up to his reputation with an assured display. He always looked confident in his handling.

Nuno Reis: 7 : The pairing of Roderick and Reis complement each other well. The defense was one of Portugal’s strong-suits tonight, no doubt because of him.

Roderick: 7 : As stated above, Roderick performed well in his defensive duties, constantly breaking up plays. His range of passing was also a sight to behold.

Luis Martins: 6.5 : Martins had a solid game defensively, but I would have liked to see him attack more.

Cedric: 7 : Portugal’s number 8 had both a solid defensive and offensive game. His runs forward furthered Portugal’s attack and gave Uruguay headaches

Pele: 7 : Genoa’s new signing met all expectations. Pele is naturally a very gifted player, and it was shown tonight. He constantly got himself out of sticky situations using his skill. Along with Danilo Pereira, He anchored Portugal’s team and supplied the link between the defense and midfield.

Danilo Pereira: 7 : Much the same with Pele, Danilo fulfilled his role well, holding the midfield down with style. The only downside to his performance was his lack of attacking.

Sana: 6.5 : Virtually Portugal’s only creative midfielder, Sana was constantly on breakaways and feeding the forwards passes, only for them to make a mess of them. It must have been a frustrating night for him.

Sergio Oliveira: 6.5 : Apart from hitting the post in the second half, Porto’s midfielder didn’t do much. He hit many speculative shots, but could have helped Sana more in the midfield.

Nelson Oliveira: 6 : Overall, Nelson Oliveira did not play well. He did not play badly, but he just had a bad game. Missed an open opportunity when Sana put him through on goal in the second half,  but he missed his shot.

Rafael Lopes: 5 : A very dissappointing performance from the forward, who just couldn’t find his feet. The only thing he did was make Uruguay’s players angry. He was nowhere to be seen for large chunks of time in the game.

Substitutues:

Alex: 6.5 : The Santa Clara man came on for the ineffectual Rafael Lopes, and did better than his predecessor. He made some good passes and generally looked good on the ball. Would be a good replacement for Rafael Lopes in the coming games.

Julio Alves: 6 : Overall a very mediocre performance from Atletico Madrid’s new signing. Mind you, he did only have a handful of minutes at the end.

Tiago Ferreira: N/A : Not enough time on the field to give a rating.