Following three successive wins, the Portuguese Under-19 team has qualified for the Elite Qualification round for next summer’s UEFA U-19 European Championship. Led by rising stars such as Renato Sanches, Gil Dias, and Goncalo Guedes, the team qualified with relative ease, which shows just how strong Portugal’s youth system is at the moment. Should Portugal qualify for next summer’s tournament, it will be the fourth year in a row that the team has managed an appearance in the competition. That statistic is encouraging, and with players such as Marcos Lopes, Bernardo Silva, Andre Gomes, Joao Mario, and Bruma in recent years, there is every reason that this current group of U-19s is destined for success. Continue reading
Things are starting to heat up in this transfer window that has been largely uneventful. Maybe it will become more interesting if any of these rumors become a reality.
Sporting to Everton?
According to reports coming out of Portugal, Everton are very interested in signing Adrien Silva, who is currently on loan from Sporting Lisbon at Academica. Silva has been in rampant form this season for Academica, and his performances have not gone unnoticed. Everton boss David Moyes was in the stands yesterday during the Academica vs Vitoria Guimaraes match, with Silva most likely the reason for his trip. A move is unlikely, however, as Silva’s release clause at Sporting is set at 20 million, and Everton are typically a cash-strapped club.
Sporting to PSG?
Sporting right-back Joao Pereira is reportedly a target for French billionaire club PSG. Inter Milan right-back Maicon is said to be their primary target, but if a 15 million pound move for him does not materialize, the French club may look to either Pereira or Porto right-back Jorge Fucile.
Sertanense to Chelsea, Wolfsburg, Monaco, or Porto?
Many don’t recognize the name Diogo Ribeiro. There is no reason to. Now, however, Ribeiro is the top scorer in the equivalent of the third division in Portugal. The striker has bagged nine goals so far this season, and that tally has not gone unnoticed. Representatives from Chelsea, Wolfsburg, Monaco, and Porto were all present at the team’s last match, with Ribeiro their intended target.
Porto to Mariselle or Bologna (loan)?
Porto outcast (kind-of) Sivestre Varela is looking for a way out of the club. The winger was an integral part of the team that won virtually everything last season, but this season has been the polar opposite. Under new coach Vitor Pereira, Varela has been pushed into the shadows, and with talk of another winger, Yannick Djalo, joining the club, his playing time looked even more threatened. Though the Yannick move has not materialized, Varela is still looking out. Marsielle and Bologna are both interested in taking the player on loan.
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.
Mika – The best goalkeeper of the tournament was swiftly snapped up by league giants Benfica, but has since found playing time non-existent. While he has appeared a couple of times for the Portugal U-21 team, he has not been as lucky at Benfica. He is currently third in the pecking order, behind Artur Moraes and Eduardo, first and second respectively.
Tiago Maia – Maia is in a similar predicament as Mika, only instead of moving to a big club in the summer, he dropped down a division to promotion-hopefuls Santa Clara. The playing time hasn’t come as easily as he must have expected, however. He is third in the goalkeeping order, behind Stefanovic and Brice. Maia has only appeared on the bench twice, and is yet to make his official debut.
Luis Ribeiro – Last but not least on the list of goalkeepers is Luis Ribeiro, currently on loan at Sertanense from Sporting. Sertanense is currently competing in the third division in Portugal, but nevertheless, Ribeiro has yet to make an appearance for the club.
Tiago Ferreira – The David Luiz lookalike has not featured for Porto’s first team, which comes as no surprise as he is still 18 years old. He has been a regular for the team’s youth setup, and continues to be a player to watch for the future.
Nuno Reis – The U-20 captain has built off what was a successful first season in Belgium last term. The defender has made five appearances so far this season, helping Cercle Brugge, where he is on loan from Sporting Lisbon, to second in the Belgian league.
Roderick – Clearly the second choice for the U-20 team’s center defense, his pairing with Nuno Reis was one to remember. Currently on loan from Benfica to Swiss side Servette, Roderick has excelled. The defender has played in six of Servette’s matches this season, and looks to have a successful season.
Cedric Soares – The right back/right midfielder/everything else has joined Academica on loan from Sporting Lisbon for the entire season. At Academica, he has established himself as their first-choice right-back. In doing this, he has also put in a case for a starting spot in the Portugal U-21 team.
Luis Martins – Benfica coach Jorge Jesus surprised everyone when he named Martins over Joan Capdevila in the team’s Champions League squad. By doing that, he was hinting that Martins could become Benfica’s second choice left-back. He has since appeared on the bench three times, further confirming the theory that he is their second-choice left back at age 19.
Mario Rui – The left-back has joined Serie B side Gubbio on loan from Parma. Rui was snapped up by Parma in the off-season, but was immediately loaned out to Gubbio to gain experience. The defender has since made six appearances, mainly from the substitute’s bench, all the while staking a claim for a starting spot in the Portugal U-21 team.
Granada, who are brand new to La Liga this season, have acquired the services of Carlos Martins and Jorge Ribeiro, both of Benfica. Benfica have a plethora of center midfielders, with Matic, Nuno Coelho, and Axel Witsel having been brought in during the close-season. Martins, much like Andre Castro has done at Porto, has decided to move elsewhere in search for minutes.
That elsewhere is Granada, where he will play on loan for the entirety of the 2011-2012 season. Benfica agreed to pay Martins wages in full, so this is looking more and more like a win-win for Granada. The Spanish outfit have just picked up a Portuguese international, who is capable of the magnificent, that is, if he is not injured or in a bad run of form. Overall, this move will benefit both Carlos Martins and Granada, if he stays fit.
Next on the Benfica outcast list is Jorge Ribeiro. Jorge spent last season on loan at Vitoria Guimaraes, where he played relatively well, scoring twice. The left back slowly fell out of favor at Benfica, and has been almost non-existent for the past few seasons. His talent is undoubted, having earned a handful of caps for the Portuguese National Team. The only obstacle to overcome for him is staying fit. Over the next two seasons, expect to see a revitalized Jorge Ribeiro.
Overall, Granada have been very frugal in the transfer market, acquiring Jorge Ribeiro on a free and Carlos Martins on a no-wage-contribution loan. Granada have a huge test ahead of them if they are to remain in La Liga until next season, but this test will be made easier with both Martins and Ribeiro.
Portugal National Team coach Paulo Bento has called up Joao Ribeiro and Orlando Sa early for the Seleccao’s upcoming game against Spain. Joao Ribeiro has been in top form for Vitoria Guimaraes, attracting the attention of clubs like Fulham and CSKA Moscow. Orlando Sa, who is currently on loan at Nacional from Porto, has also been impressing in the Liga Zon Sagres. If you will recall, Orlando Sa scored a hat-trick three years ago for the Portugal U-21 team against Spain. Maybe Bento is hoping for more of the same. Portugal face Spain in a friendly match on November 17 in an effort to strengthen their joint 2018(I think) World Cup bid. Vieirinha and Andre Santos are two other player who I think deserve call-ups, just in case you guys were wondering…
News keeps pouring in from across Portugal regarding transfer rumors for the next transfer window. Here’s the latest:
Werder Bremen striker Hugo Almeida is apparently in negotiations with Valencia over a proposed transfer to the Mestalla this January. Almeida, whose contract expires in January, is the ideal target for the Spanish club, who is in need of strikers. Valencia officials hope to get Almeida on a free transfer.
Let’s see…First Bayern, then Liverpool, then Chelsea, then A.C. Milan, now Barcelona. It’s no wonder that these big clubs are following the winger given his performances for Benfica and Portugal. Just think… A year and a half ago, Coentrao was a doubt to even make the Benfica first team. Now, he is a starter for the Portuguese National Team and one of Benfica’s key players. Coentrao, however, is not prepared to leave.
Vitoria Guimaraes midfielder Joao Ribeiro, who was recently called up to the National Team, is on Fulham’s wish-list. Ribeiro has been in top form for Guimaraes, and it has apparently not gone unnoticed. The midfielder is thought to be valued at around 4.5 million euros, a price that Fulham is willing to pay. Ribeiro was bought for free from Academica this summer, so a 4.5 million dollar profit doesn’t sound too bad, does it? CSKA is also apparently chasing the 22 year-old. No more information on that bit, unfortunately.
Carlos Queiroz certainly has to do a double-take after the Portugal U-23 team strolled to a 7-2 thrashing of Wales. Ruben Micael and Yannick had to be withdrawn from the squad due to injury, but their absence was not missed, with Vieirinha filling Ruben Micael’s role admirably.
Portugal opened up the scoring on 14 minutes, when Coentrao crossed for Vitor Gomes, who nodded it in. Just seven minutes later, Coentrao went from hero to villian, as his errant back-pass was picked up by Wales’s Jack Christopher, who finished past Patricio. Soon after, a beautiful piece of Vieirinha opened up for Joao Ribeiro, who easily finished past the Welsh keeper. Just two minutes later, a loose ball fell to Ricardo Vaz te, who rocketed his shot into the bottom left corner beautifully. Portugal finished the half with their heads up, rightfully so with a 3-1 lead.
It took just over ten minutes for the leathal Portugal to find the net again, this time with Paulo Machado. A string of flawless passes set up Joao Ribeiro, who impressively squared the ball to the Toulouse man, who one-touched it in. Once again, Vaz te found the back of the net within just minutes of the previous goal. Some inaccurate passing in the Welsh defense left Vaz te with a open shot, which he took perfectly with his left foot into the bottom right corner. Portugal continued to completely dominate the game, putting away almost all of their chances. Welshman Rob Williams then reduced the gap in the score with his header off of a corner kick. The score was now 5-2 obviously in Portugal’s favor. Ten minutes later, Bruno Gama what is,in mu opinion, the best goal of the match. He latched on to a ball just outside the box, and curled his effort just in. Carlos Saleiro soon after scored the final goal of the match. After evading the defender’s tackles, the Sporting man fired an unstoppable shot past the Welsh keeper, making the final score an impressive 7-2.
Rui Patrício, Miguel Lopes (Sílvio, 70), Vasco Fernandes, Nuno André Coelho, Fábio Coentrão (Emídio Rafael, 30), Pelé, Vítor Gomes (Nuno Coelho, 46), Paulo Machado, Vieirinha, João Ribeiro (Bruno Gama, 61) e Vaz Té (Saleiro, 66).
Here’s the highlights: