Manchester United to Real Madrid, Manchester City, or Tottenham?
Manchester United winger Nani is reportedly unhappy at the club, and may be forced to leave if the situation does not improve. The winger wants to renew his contract at the club, but the officials in charge of such matters are slow to respond. Consequently, Nani has taken this to mean that he is not wanted at the English club, even though he very much wants to stay. If Nani were to decide to leave, there would be no shortage of clubs waiting in the wings, with Manchester City, Real Madrid, and Tottenham all reportedly interested.
The heartbeat of the Besiktas’ midfield is Manuel Fernandes. There is no arguing that. Since joining the Turkish team on loan from Valencia in January 2011, Fernandes has come-of-age. His performances on loan were of such a high standard that at the end of the season, Besiktas opted to purchase him outright. Since then, he has been transformed from a talented player to a talisman for the Turkish team. The midfielder has scored six in all competitions this season, including two in his last two matches. He has also assisted countless others, which has helped him cement himself as one of Besiktas’s most important players.
While Manuel Fernandes’ talent has been undeniable, contract disputes and injuries have hampered any sort of consistency. Fernandes broke onto the scene for Benfica in the 2003-2004 season. In only his second game for the club, he scored, making him the second youngest goalscorer for the club. He soon established himself as an important member of the team, and, in the process, picked up his first cap for Portugal. After two loan spells abroad, both in England (for Portsmouth and Everton), Valencia snapped him up for a fee of around 18 million euros. At Valencia, injuries hampered his natural progress. After failing to make Unai Emery’s plans last season, he joined Besiktas on loan from January until the end of the season. After a successful half-season at the Turkish club, he was bough outright for 2 million euros. Since then, he has established himself as one of the finest midfielders playing in Turkey, and is considered by many to be a shoo-in for the Euro 2012 squad.
His fine performances for Besiktas have not gone unnoticed. Real Madrid and Tottenham are both said to be courting the midfielder. Reports coming out of Turkey even suggest that a 17 million pound deal has already been agreed between Tottenham and Besiktas for the midfielder. Though these reports appear to be untrue, a similar deal may not be too far off.
Pizzi has finished his loan at Atletico Madrid, and is set to finish the season at Braga. the winger was on loan at the Spanish club for six months, with an option to buy. Atletico have failed to trigger the 15 million euro transfer clause to bring Pizzi to Spain permanently. The reason given was not that they did not believe Pizzi to be good enough, but rather a shortage of funds. Pizzi settled well in Spain,making six appearances, mainly from the bench, and scoring once. For a twenty-two year-old who has never played abroad, I would say he did well.
It was a good weekend for Portuguese abroad, as Panathinaikos’ Zeca and Atletico Madrid’s Pizzi scored their first league goals. Both joined their clubs at the beginning of this season, and both have enjoyed varying degrees of success. This weekend, however, was a success for them both. First up is Zeca.
Olympiacos 1-1 Panathinaikos
After making the switch this summer from Vitoria Setubal to Greek giants Panathinaikos, Zeca has cemented his place in the starting eleven. Out of Panathinaikos’ eight games so far this season, Zeca has started all eight, and has usually played the full ninety minutes. It’s not hard to see that Zeca is an important piece to the Panathinaikos puzzle, and he proved that in Saturday’s derby against Olympiakos. After making a well-timed run into the box, Zeca received a pass from a teammate and poked the ball home. That goal made the score 1-0 and although Olympiacos would later score, the fans will forever be attached to Zeca. Panathinaikos are now sitting on top of the Greek league. Click here for the highlights from TvGolo.com.
Atletico Madrid 3-2 Levante
Switching peninsulas, Pizzi also scored his maiden goal for his new club. Pizzi is currently on loan from Sporting Braga to Atletico Madrid. Atletico have secured a season-long loan with an optional deal to purchase the player for 8 million at the end of the loan. After his performances on Sunday against Levante, Atletico may be getting their cash ready. Pizzi has made the majority of his appearances for Atletico off the bench, and Sunday’s match was no different. The winger was substituted in at half time, taking Tiago’s spot. A little over twenty minutes into the second half, a perfectly weighted ball from Jose Reyes found Pizzi’s run. The winger took a brilliant first-touch and coolly slotted the ball through the goalkeepers legs with his left foot. It was a simple enough looking goal because Pizzi did everything right. With Falcao out injured, maybe Pizzi can be the goal-getter that Atletico desperately needs. Click here for the highlights from TvGolo.com.
On Portugoal.net recently, an interesting opinion article was written about whether Fabio Coentrao’s talents should best be used in Portugal’s midfield, instead of its defense. This is a very interesting point, as Coentrao has began to have been used as a central midfielder at Real Madrid under Jose Mourinho.
Rui Canico – Benfica to Atletico Madrid, AC Milan, or Inter Milan?
Rui Canico, currently playing for Benfica’s youth team, has attracted the interest of some of the largest clubs across Europe. Aged just 16, Canico is beginning to be a regular for the Portugal U-16 team, with a U-17 debut not too far off. His contract with Benfica is set to expire at the end of the season, and already clubs from Italy and Spain are expressing interest. Among the list of suitors is AC Milan, Inter Milan, and Atletico Madrid.
With his contract due to expire at the end of the season, Ricardo Carvalho is attracting the interest of some of Europe’s biggest clubs. As with every international break, rumors have ran rampant. These rumors are usually completely false, but nonetheless interesting. Ricardo Carvalho has fit in well at Real Madrid since joining from Chelsea at the beginning of last season. In fact, he has become one of La Liga’s most dependable and best center-backs. After picking up 33 appearances for the Spanish giants last term, many doubts of his ability due to his advanced age were rubbished. He has proved that he is still one of the finest defenders playing at the moment. His contract is due to expire in June of 2012, and Russian big-spenders Anzhi, Turkish giants Fenerbahce, and Italian champions are all keeping an eye on him.
Youngster Pedro Mendes has been included by Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho in the team’s champions league roster. His inclusion comes as a surprise as he is currently playing for Real Madrid Castilla (the club’s B team) on loan from Sporting Lisbon. The defender featured for the team in preseason, but, to no one’s surprise, has failed to feature since. He is competing for a spot in the team against the likes of Ricardo Carvalho, Pepe, Raul Albiol, and Raphael Varane, among others. His inclusion shows the faith that Mourinho has in him, faith that the coach made quite clear when the loan was secured.
Pizzi has made his highly anticipated debut for Spanish giants Atletico Madrid. Well, it was highly anticipated for me. Pizzi is a player who has shown huge amounts of potential over the past couple of seasons for Pacos Ferreira, on loan from Braga. At the beginning of this season, Braga announced that the winger would stay in the first team, and that he would join the team for their pre-season. Pizzi joined them, and was one of their stand-out performers. Much was expected of him, but few expected him to make a move to one of the biggest teams on Spain. He did however, moving to Atletico Madrid on a bizarre loan move. After joining up with the team, he made the bench for Atletico’s first Europa League group stage game, against Celtic. Today, however, Pizzi finally made his debut in Atletico’s 4-0 drubbing of Racing Santander. His debut was hugely overshadowed by Falcao’s hat-trick. Speaking after the game, Pizzi expressed his delight in making his debut for Atletico, stating that “It’s the best team I’ve ever been in during my career. We have players with great quality and it’s a great club.” If Pizzi continues his hard work and impresses the Atletico Madrid coach enough, the Spanish club have the ability to activate a clause in Pizzi’s loan contract to buy the winger for 15 million euros. Right now, that seems a little steep. Come January, that may seem a bargain.
Ruben Micael has put pen to paper on a move from Porto to Atletico Madrid. The fee is believed to be around 5 million euros. Micael joined Porto from Nacional Madeira in January of 2010, and has since mainly made his contributions from the bench. Nevertheless, Portugal coach called the midfielder up for the team’s friendly match against Finland earlier this year. Micael scored both of Portugal’s goals in their 2-0 victory. Due to the arrival of Steven Defour from Standard Liege, Micael is searching for regular playing time, probably in the hope of representing Portugal at Euro 2012. Atletico made the headlines for their signing of Falcao, and Ruben Micael has flown under the radar. The midfielder, however, will not be playing at Atletico this season. It has been announced that he will play at Zaragoza, on a season-long loan. This is most likely due to the imminent transfer of Brazilian star Diego from Wolfsburg.