Salvador Agra Returns for Braga


Salvador Agra - Braga preseason 2013-2014

Salvador Agra

Academica to Braga (loan return)

After half of a season at Academica, Salvador Agra will return to Braga next season. Owned by Spanish side Real Betis, Braga arranged a two-season loan contract at the beginning of this season. The beginning of his Braga career did not go according to plan, as both he and the team struggled. Only half of a season and 8 appearances later, Agra was loaned to Academica, where he hit form under coach Sergio Conceicao. Fast forward to present day and Sergio Conceicao is now the new Braga coach, and recalling Salvador Agra is one of his first moves.

Vitoria Guimaraes: Return to Roots


Vitoria_Sport_ClubeThe financial situation around the world has been a talking point for some time. Many countries that usually have strong economies have suffered as a result of the recession. Portugal is one of the worst. At the same time, a common trend has emerged in the world of football. Wealthy individuals have bought football clubs, pumping millions, and even billions, into them. Manchester City, Malaga, and PSG are three prime examples. The very facade of football has changed as a result. While these clubs have not been affected by the economic downturn, some have not been as lucky. Vitoria Guimaraes is a perfect example.

Vitoria SC, as it is known in short, is a club with a rich history, like many clubs in Portugal. founded in 1922, the club has served most of it’s life in the top division in Portugal. Although they have never championed the league, they have established themselves as a dominant force, especially in recent times. Before the emergence of Braga as the fourth top team in Portugal, many would argue that Vitoria Guimaraes was the fourth strongest team in Portugal.

The economic downturn, along with mismanagement, hit Vitoria SC particularly hard. At one point last season, the players’ wages went unpaid for four months. The club had to offload a number of high wage earners as a result. Players such as Edgar Silva, Paulo Sergio, Faouzi, and Anderson Santana were offloaded in the summer, likely to cut the club’s wage expenses. Many did not predict the club to survive the league this season. Vitoria Guimaraes has survived this season, however, and not only have they survived, but they have survived comfortably. How they did is interesting.

The departures of the aforementioned players obviously left some large gaps in the squad for this season. Knowing that the club did not have the resources to buy more higher-profile players, the club turned to their talented youth pool. Ricardo, Tiago Rodrigues, and Paulo Oliveira were all given first-team roles. Likewise, the club secured the loan of Sporting Libson’s youngster Amidio Balde and purchased Andre Andre from Varzim for free. All five of these players have played pivotal roles at one point or another in Vitoria Guimaraes’ campaign so far this season. For instance, Amidio Balde has scored five goals in twelve appearances, while Ricardo and Andre Andre have established themselves as permanent first-team fixtures.

The situation with Vitoria Guimaraes is an interesting one. Many clubs look abroad for talent, while overlooking the talented players already at their own club. Vitoria SC went back to the basics, and it has paid off for them. Not only are they strong this season (6th so far in the Liga Zon Sagres), but these talented young players will certainly grow, and the team will be stronger every year for years to come. Why? Because the team invested in what they had, and had faith in young Portuguese players.

Roderick Recalled from Deportivo Loan


Roderick

Roderick

Deportivo to Benfica (loan return)

Benfica coach Jorge Jesus has recalled Roderick Miranda from his loan at La Liga side Deportivo, after the defender only made four official appearances for the club this season. The loan was originally set to last the entire season, but due to a lack of center-defenders at the club (Miguel Vitor, Luisao, Garay, and Jardel), Roderick has been recalled. Roderick is now in contention for a rotation role in Benfica’s first team, most likely to play second-fiddle for Garay and Luisao.

Tonel Does Not Expect Return


Dinamo Zagreb central defender, Tonel, recently spoke to Maisfutebol, saying that he does not see himself returning to the Portuguese National Team anytime soon. Tonel currently plays for Dinamo Zagreb, in Croatia, and thinks that Bruno Alves, Pepe, and Ricardo Carvalho are doing a great job. “I think it will be difficult to be called back because Portugal is well served by central (defenders). Ricardo Carvalho, Pepe and Bruno Alves have done their job well. If called upon I will be satisfied. If not, I’ll wring out,” he explained. Tonel also believes that the team will make it to Euro 2012. Tonel moved from Sporting Lisbon to Dinamo last August, and has since enjoyed his spell in Croatia, winning last season’s Croatian League.

Boa Morte Nearing West Ham Return, da Costa Settling in


Portuguese international Boa Morte is nearing the final stages of his injury recovery. The winger suffered cruciate ligament damage in the pre-season, and is hoping to be fit for the remainder of West Ham’s season, as they battle out of the relegation zone.

West Ham teammate and fellow Portuguese Manuel da Costa scored today in The Hammer’s 2 all draw with Everton. Since joining in August, the defender has settled in nicely, and I wouldn’t be surprised if an international call-up is relatively imminent.