It is inevitable. Emerging Portuguese talent in Liga NOS really only see one option if they want to blossom into the best player possible: leave Portugal for greener ($$) pastures. It is hard to argue with them; as England, France, Spain, Germany and Italy can offer tougher competition, European glory, extra exposure, and of course, more money. Still, knowing when to go, and where to go, become the ultimate factor in determining your success as a player. As we have seen, some players leave Portugal and become world greats, while others leave Portugal and become forgotten. Let us take a look at five recent Portuguese departures, and how the move has worked for them.
Porto, Benfica, Sporting Win, Champions League Success, Carvalho Saga Nears an End, and Azzurri on the Cheap
It was a busy week for all the Big clubs in Portugal, which made for a lot of interesting reading so here is a review of what hit the headlines this week in the Liga.
FC Porto got an important win for the club qualifying for the Group Stage in the Champions League. They also helped the Liga as a whole beating out French side Lille 2-0 at the Dragao (3-0 on Aggregate), boosting the Primeira Liga’s Co-efficiency points in Europe. Brahimi was a star again.
The William Carvalho story has taken another twist as Manchester United bump ahead of Arsenal, in the race for the impressive Portuguese National Team’s World Cup star. Sporting CP has dropped their asking price (although many strings attached) causing a frenzy of headlines.
Benfica in interesting news was turned down by Palermo striker Abel Hernandez. He would rather stay in Italy or move to a lower level EPL team instead. Good riddance I would say because clearly playing in a 5th rate league or not in the Champions League is better for his career.
FC Porto’s wonder boy Ruben Neves was given global attention again as FIFA posted an article praising the 17 year old on their website. Two weeks in and the young midfielder a U-17 star for Portugal has really made a name for himself.
SLB international midfielder Ruben Amorim hit the headlines unfortunately in a bad way, as he ruptured ligaments in his knee that will see him out of action for 6 months. It was a bad break for Ruben as Defensive Midfielder Ljubomir Fejsa was out with injury and it looked like he was going to get a lot of first team action in that role. Fortunately for Benfica they have Andre Almeida in the wings that could be a big star at the position.
Portuguese International Nani reported and got in action for Sporting CP helping them to a win. The bonus was that Bruno de Carvalho got Manchester United to foot most of his wage bills in the Rojo deal.
Joao Cancelo the talented Benfica fullback got a loan deal with Valencia who looks to give him some first team playing time. Cancelo was very impressive in pre-season this year for SLB and fans look forward to him taking big steps this season.
With Liverpool FC exchanging one troubled striker for another which seems fitting, AC Milan looked to replace Balotelli by poaching FC Porto’s monster attacker Jackson Martinez. They not only sent in a low-ball bid to Porto for Martinez they also wanted to make installment payments for him over a few years, in true Italian style. Someone should explain to the Italian Chiefs living in their fishbowl that the Primeira Liga is above them now, and that they will have to pay more and sell for less in dealings with the Big 3. We have 2 Big clubs (Benfica #5 & Porto #11) both hovering around the top 10 in European Club Charts they have none. MESSAGE TO AZZURRI: Enough with the tampering and lowballing Liga players.
Once again another interesting week in the Headlines for Portuguese Football, keep it locked here to PortugalFutbol.net for your Portuguese Futebol fix, and follow us on twitter as we post links to late breaking news regularly.
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.
Pele – The midfielder joined Genoa from Belenenses before last summer’s U-20 World Cup, but due to his solid performances, Milan snatched him up soon after the tournament ended. He has since been cycled into their youth setup, currently with the U-20 team. Pele recently made his debut for the Portugal U-21 team.
Julio Alves – Much like Pele, Julio Alves was transferred to one club, only to turn around and move again, without having even played a match. Julio Alves, who is the younger brother of Bruno Alves, was transferred to Atletico Madrid from Rio Ave. On the last day of the transfer window, however, Besiktas snapped him up. He has only made the bench once for Besiktas, but has managed to debut for the Portugal U-21 team.
Sana – The midfielder who was so instrumental in Portugal’s success at the U-20 World Cup has not had an equally impressive season. Sana only just managed his debut last week, which came from the substitute’s bench. As the season progresses, Sana will most likely become more of an integral part of Valladolid’s first team. Sana also made his debut with the Portugal U-21 team.
Alex – The Santa Clara midfielder, who most memorably scored in the final against Brazil at the U-20 World Cup, is enjoying a successful season. Alex has made seven appearances in all competitions so far this season, scoring three times. All signs are pointing to this being the breakout season for Alex.
Danilo Pereira – Pereira has mainly been playing for Parma’s top youth squad this season. This may seem a bit unfair as his performances at the U-20 World Cup suggested that he was ready to play at a higher level, but he will continue to develop while in the youth team. Pereira was called up early for the Portugal U-21 team for their upcoming matches next month.
Sergio Oliveira – The Porto prospect has been playing this season on loan at Belgian side Mechelen from Porto. Oliveira enjoyed a successful debut season last term for Liga Zon Sagres side Beira-Mar. The midfielder has played in four league matches for the Belgian team this season, and is continuing to look to impress.
Ricardo Dias – Having been released from Porto, Beira-Mar snapped up the midfielder quickly. Dias was mainly used as a substitute during the U-20 World Cup, and looks to be used similarly at Beira-Mar this season. He has yet to make his league debut, but has appeared on the bench for almost every game this season.
Nelson Oliveira – The star of the show last summer has tried heroically to continue his form this season for Benfica’s first team, where coach Jorge Jesus stated Oliveira would spend the season. His efforts paid off as he made his official debut for the club, in a cup game. Oliveira has also made his debut for the Portugal U-21 team, and even started against Russia.
Amidio Balde – Balde has made five appearances so far this season for Cercle Brugge, where he is on loan from Sporting Lisbon. In those five appearances, the striker picked up his first, and only so far, goal for the club.
Caetano – 2010/2011 was a good debut season for Caetano. In fact, the diminutive striker was a revelation in the league last season. This season has not been as kind to him, however. Caetano has failed to find the net in the five times he has appeared this season for Pacos Ferreira.
Rafael Lopes – The striker with the afro who scored a lot got a haircut before the U-20 World Cup, and hasn’t scored since. Lopes racked up ten goals last season for Varzim, but has not scored yet this season. He has actually been quite awful.
Serginho – Serginho was transferred from Trofense to Beira-Mar at the end of the transfer window this August, but has yet to make an impact. The forward did not make a single appearance for the U-20 team during their World Cup run, even though he was integral to Trofense last season.
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.
Mica – Sporting to Inter?
Inter Milan are expected to complete the signing of Michael Gonçalves Pinto, better known as Mica. Mica currently plies his trade in Sporting Lisbon’s U-19 team. He is a regular for the Portugal U-18 team, and is expected to make his U-19 debut soon. At age 18, it appears that Mica has a glittering career ahead of him. This observation must be quite evident, because Manchester City, Fulham, and Bayern Munich are all said to be interested. Inter seem to be the closest to the player, however, and a deal looks to be finalized soon.
Real Betis to AC Milan?
Real Betis youngster Fabio Lopes is set for a move to A.C. Milan, according to reports coming out of Portugal. The 18 year-old has been dubbed the new Rui Costa by many news sources, which is quite a comparison to live up to. A.C. Milan have reportedly agreed a deal, and a medical has been passed, but final stipulations must be ironed out to complete the move. Juventus, Parma, Ajax, and PSV were all said to be interested also, but it appears that Milan will snatch the youngster up. Lopes is currently playing with Betis’s youth team. “I hope I can reach an agreement with AC Milan in order to join the team. However, if negotiations do not run as expected, other alternatives have in Italy. I feel very motivated though things are not yet fully confirmed. I’m still waiting for an answer,” Lopes said. If Lopes indeed joins Milan, he will be the team’s third Portuguese acquisition this summer after Ricardo Ferreira joined from Porto and Pele joined from Genoa.
Real Madrid to Anzhi, Milan or Fenerbahce?
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.
Genoa to A.C. Milan
Following his impressive displays for Portugal at the recent Under-20 World Cup, Pele has made the switch to A.C. Milan. Genoa snapped him up in the off-season, but Milan have now acquired half of his rights and get to use him next season. Pele played over 600 minutes for Portugal at the recent U-20 World Cup, and formed a solid partnership with Danilo Pereira. Those performances have caught the eye of the Italian champions, and Pele looks set to become a Milan player shortly. There is no mention of the move on Milan’s website, but sources all across Portugal are confirming it.
Despite it being quite far away from any transfer window, the rumors are still heating up. So, here are the major stories:
1. Ruben Pinto Tracked by Arsenal
The Portuguese Under-19 captain is currently being tracked by Premier League giants Arsenal. Pinto, who models his style of play after Rui Costa, has recently turned down other offers to the Premier League. He has, however, a contract tying him down to Benfica until 2012, so a move probably won’t be likely. Ruben has fancied a move to the Premier League for some time now, and with his heroics against Spain in this last Euro U-19 tournament, maybe that move can finally happen.
2. Milan Keeping Tabs on Coentrao and Periera
Italian giants A.C. Milan are allegedly watching Portuguese National Team fullbacks Joao Pereira and Fabio Coentrao. Coentrao was a bright spot in Portugal’s muddy World Cup campaign, and has since become a vital player for Benfica. He currently is tied to Benfica with a release clause of 30 million pounds. Joao Pereira moved from Braga to Sporting Lisbon earlier this year, and has since impressed enough to earn a call-up to the National Team.
3. Juventus in Miguel Veloso Swap Deal
Juventus are supposedly making a deal with Genoa for the trade of Sissoko and Miguel Veloso. The deal would see Miguel Veloso leave Genoa, who he joined in the summer, and meet up with Juventus, who was tracking him earlier this year. I do not foresee this move happening.
4. Pedro Marques to Make Portugal Switch
Real Madrid C midfielder Pedro Marques is reportedly being watched by Olhanense. Olhanense are currently third in the Liga Zon Sagres, having enjoyed an impressive start to their second consecutive season in the Portuguese top-flight. Marques has been playing in Spain for some time now, but it has been speculated that Olhanense want his services.
5. Chelsea Want Pepe in 2012
Following Pepe’s statement that he plans to leave Real Madrid in 2012 whan his contract is up, Chelsea have come out and said that they want him for free in 2012. Pepe has been rock-solid in his partnership with Ricardo Carvalho not only at Real Madrid, but also for the Seleccao.
There are quite a few things happening in regards to Portuguese transfers. Like most transfer periods, there are more rumors than actual deals going through.
1. Ukra Close to Newcastle Switch – Porto-owned, Olhanense starlet, has been a revelation for the Portuguese Liga side this season. Newcastle were close to signing him this January. Their 2 million pound offer was rejected by Porto earlier this season, so they need to up the ante with their bid for the winger.
2. Vaz Te – Bolton to ? – Portuguese striker Ricardo Vaz Te, who hasn’t seen a first-team opportunity in over a season, has decided to rescind his contract with English side Bolton Wanderers. Vaz Te has suffered through questionable fitness throughout the last few seasons, so he is ready to find a fresh challenge.
3. Joao Moutinho Sure to Leave Sporting – Sporting captain Joao Moutinho has recently come out and said that he will surely leave Sporting for a Premier League club. Everton are known to be courting him, and with Nuno Valente the Portuguese scout, the deal will most likely happen.