Photo: Sergio Santos
Manchester United to Sporting (loan)
Portugal National Team and Manchester United winger Nani has returned to his boyhood club, albeit on loan until the end of the season. Nani began his career at Sporting before moving to English giants Manchester United in the summer of 2007 after two impressive seasons in Portugal. A mixture of injuries and indifferent form has held Nani back recently, and the winger has not had a truly successful season since 2012. This move will surely help Nani’s chances at playing time.
This move may come as a bit of a surprise to those who haven’t been following it from the beginning. Nani was greatly out of favor with David Moyes, who took charge at Manchester United last season after club legend Sir Alex Ferguson retired. After Moyes’ subsequent sacking, Netherlands manager Louis Van Gaal took the reins for this season. Almost immediately, Van Gaal made it clear that Nani did not feature in the team’s plans, and that the winger should begin looking for a new club. Juventus, Milan, and Inter were all interested in bringing in Nani, but a move never materialized, likely due to Nani’s huge wage demands.
With Manchester United looking for a defender, they turned their eyes to Marcos Rojo, who enjoyed a stellar World Cup with Argentina. Once the English team made a bid, Sporting demanded that Nani be part of the deal. Manchester United accepted the deal, which sees Nani join Sporting on a season-long loan, with Marcos Rojo joining Manchester United for a fee of around 10 million euros. As part of the deal (possibly the most crucial bit), Manchester United will pay all of Nani’s wages during the loan, which is something that Sporting is financially incapable of doing.
And the funny thing is…Nani left Manchester United and will now be playing in the Champions League.
Flamengo to Porto (loan)
Sporting Lisbon legend has controversially made the jump over the Atlantic to return to Portugal. He is not returning to Sporting, however. He has joined Porto on loan until the end of the season, in order to add depth to a thin squad. This move has been rumored for some time, but many did not believe that it would actually happen. Liedson became a cult figure at Sporting during the years he played for the club. Many understood his decision to leave in 2011, when he joined Corinthians, in his native Brazil. He soon moved to Flamengo for the 2012 season, and will now be seen donning the Porto jersey until the end of the season.
Manchester United winger Bebe was included in Rui Jorge’s 23-man squad for next month’s match against Poland. This game is a must-win for the team, who will almost guarantee qualification to the next U-21 Euro of they win on September 10th. Here’s the full squad:
Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Cristiano Figueiredo (Braga B), Mika (Benfica B)
Defenders: Anibal Capela (Braga B), Cédric (Sporting), Ivo Pinto (Cluj), Luis Martins (Benfica B), Nuno Reis (Olhanense), Pedro Mendes (Sporting B), Ruben (Maritimo), Vitor Bastos (Vitoria Guimaraes B)
Midfielders: Andre Almeida (Benfica B), André Martins (Sporting), Danilo (Roda JC), David Simao (Maritimo), Josue (Pacos Ferreira), Sérgio Oliveira (Porto B)
Forwards: Abel Camara (Beira-Mar), Fredy (Belenenses), Rui Fonte (Espanyol), Salvador Agra (Real Betis), Bebe (Manchester United), Wilson Eduardo (Academica)
Atletico Madrid to Braga (Loan return)
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.
Andre Andre has returned to Varzim after a half-season stint with La Liga outfit, Deportivo. The midfielder moved from Liga Orangina side Varzim to Deportivo B in the summer, and has since worked his way into the first team. Although he did not play a single game for the first team, it should still be looked at as quite an accomplishment that he went from playing in the second division in Portugal to playing in one of the top few leagues in the world. Andre Andre has now joined Varzim on a year-and-a-half deal.
The Portuguese Under-20 Team will return to next years Toulon Tournament, which will be held between June 1st and 10th. Last time around, at the 2009 edition, Portugal narrowly lost their first two matches against Chile and France. Having already been knocked out of the tournament, Portugal had just pride to play for in their final group stage game against Qatar. The final score ended at 6-0 in favor of Portugal. It was quite a way to end a lackluster tournament for the Seleccao U-20. After not participating last year, it will be nice to see the team back in action, and the tournament will also serve as a warm-up for the U-20 World Cup, which begins on June 29. It was also announced that Portugal U-20 will also be playing Montenegro on the 15th June.