Due to injury, Ruben Micael and Hugo Almeida have had to pull out of the Portugal squad ahead of the team’s upcoming match against Ecuador. Called to replace them is Andre Gomes and Nelson Oliveira. The inclusion of Andre Gomes is an interesting one from Portugal National Team coach Paulo Bento. Gomes has broken into Benfica’s first team this season, and a string of positive performances have even merited a starting spot ahead of other very talented midfielders in the team. Despite this, Gomes has never represented the Portugal U-21 team. This is quite a jump.
Atletico Madrid to Braga
Ruben Micael is now an SC Braga player, after the Portuguese club purchased half of the rights to the player for 3 million euros, a record purchase for the club. Micael has been in scintillating form for Braga this season, where he has been on loan from Atletico Madrid. The midfielder moved to Atletico as part of the Falcao deal, but was immediately loaned to Zaragoza. He spent the entirety of last season on loan at the Spanish club, and joined Braga at the beginning of this season. He had previously shown what he could do in the Liga Zon Sagres first with Nacional and then with Porto, and many were eagerly awaiting his performances for Braga. He has not disappointed. Micael has amassed four goals and two assists in ten appearances this season, and has become one of Braga’s most valued assets. The contract that he signed is valid for five years.
Portugal 6-2 Bosnia
Portugal defeated Bosnia by a thrilling scoreline of 6-2 to book their place in Euro 2012. Ronaldo was the star of the show, recording a brace, while Helder Postiga also scored twice. Nani added a spectacular long-ranger, and Miguel Veloso scored his second-ever goal for the Seleccao with a sumptuous free-kick. Portugal were too hot for Bosnia to handle, and while the visitors did make life uncomfortable at times for the Seleccao, Portugal always looked the clear winners.
The game started off almost spectacularly after Raul Meireles failed to finish off a rebound from a Ronaldo shot. That was quickly forgotten when Ronaldo opened the scoring by rifling in a spectacular free kick: his third during Paulo Bento’s reign so far. The team the doubled their lead soon after. Raul Meireles’ simple ball found Nani in quite a bit of room. The winger turned, looked up, and unleashed a ferocious shot that gave the Bosnian goalkeeper no chance. With Portugal up 2-0, the team started to step off the accelerator a bit. They were punished accordingly, if harshly, when Fabio Coentrao handled in the box. The referee awarded a penalty, which Misimovic slotted home cool-as-you-like past Rui Patricio. That was the last event of note that occurred in the first half. The two teams went into their respective locker rooms with the score at 2-1 in Portugal’s favor.
Soon after the break, Portugal were at it again. This time, however, ended in a goal. Some quick thinking from Joao Moutinho put Ronaldo through on goal. The captain rounded the keeper and finished emphatically with his left foot. Once again, with a two-goal cushion, Portugal eased off the pedal. They were once again punished when some lax defending from the team gave Spahic the simplest of finishes. With the scoreline once again within one goal, the Seleccao pushed for more breathing room. They were rewarded on 72 minutes, when a quick pass from substitute Ruben Micael opened up a shot from Helder Postiga, who made no mistakes with his left footed shot, which he buried in the bottom corner. With breathing room restored, Portugal still continued to press for another goal. Just minutes later, the team won a free-kick on the edge of the box. Miguel Veloso struck the ball, which dipped over the wall and into the empty net. The goalkeeper was bamboozled. That goal was only Veloso’s second goal for the National team; the first coming late in 2009 against Malta. The team wasn’t done just yet, however. Almost immediately, Fabio Coentrao was found on the left flank. He surged forward and somehow crossed the ball at the last moment. Helder Postiga was on hand to head the ball home to make the final score 6-2 Portugal and seal their place in next summer’s Euro 2012.
Crutch-of-the-match: Joao Pereira
Rui Patricio, Joao Pereira, Fabio Coentrao, Bruno Alves, Pepe, Raul Meireles(Ruben Micael), Joao Moutinho, Miguel Veloso, Ronaldo, Nani(Quaresma), Helder Postiga(Carlos Martins)
Porto to Atletico Madrid
Atletico Madrid to Zaragoza (loan)
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.
With the arrivals of Magala and Defour from Standard Leige, central midfielders and central defenders are looking nervously at their possible playing time. Sereno and Ruben Micael are two of those players. Both found playing time hard to come by last season, and it looks less likely this season.
Sereno to Koln?
Sereno was purchased by Porto in June of last year after a half-season stint with Real Valladolid. The central defender has had steep competition for playing time, in the form of Maicon, Otamendi, and Rolando, two of which are full internationals. Sereno only managed five starts in the league, with the Rolando-Maicon pairing often preferred. Koln’s sporting director is reportedly in Porto currently so that a deal can be struck between the two teams. Maybe Sereno can revitalize his career in Germany.
Ruben Micael Expected to Leave
Following the arrival of Defour to Porto, Andre Castro went out on loan to Sporting Gijon. Now, Ruben Micael is exploring similar options. Defour, who is a seasoned Belgian international, is likely to get the nod over Micael, who was used sparingly last season. According to reports coming out of Portugal, Spain is the most likely destination for the midfielder.
Manuel Fernandes and Ruben Micael have been added into the Portugal squad ahead of their upcoming Euro 2012 qualification matches. Liedson and Miguel Veloso have withdrawn due to injury, so Paulo Bento has called up Micael and Fernandes in place of the two. Manuel Fernandes is enjoying a better season than last, having played in five games and started six. Ruben Micael really emerged last season as one of the finest midfielders playing in Portugal, thanks to his heroics for Nacional. Porto eagerly snapped him up during the January transfer window, and, after hurdling an injury, he has bounced back impressively, especially this season. Portugal are looking to improve on close to their worst possible start in Euro 2012 qualification.
It’s official, all of the speculation is over. Ruben Micael has made a 5 million euro move to Portuguese champions Porto. This is Porto’s first purchase of the winter transfer period, and at 5 million, Porto will feel lucky to get him so cheap. Ruben Micael has been wanted by a number of European clubs such as Werder Bremen and Real Zaragoza. Sporting Lisbon were on the brink of signing the highly rated midfielder earlier this month, but the deal fell through. This move will surely raise Micael’s chances of making his was into the National Team.