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.

Luis Martins Loaned to Gil Vicente


Luis Martins - Benfica

Luis Martins

Benfica B to Gil Vicente (Loan)

Benfica B’s left-back and captain Luis Martins has been loaned to Liga Zon Sagres side Gil Vicente until the end of the season. The defender featured briefly in Benfica’s campaign last season, making four appearances in the league, and one in the Champions League. This season, however, with the inclusion of B teams into Portuguese football, Martins was demoted to the B team, in the Liga Orangina, and made captain. His performances for the team have been stellar. From left-back, he has already scored two goals, and he has led the team to success in the league. Now, it is evident that his skills warrant playing in a higher league. Gil Vicente have come knocking, and Martins will likely be a fixture in the side for the remainder of the season.

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.

Manuel Da Costa Loaned to Nacional


Manuel Da Costa – Lokomotiv to Nacional (loan)

Portuguese central defender Manuel Da Costa has joined Liga Zon Sagres side Nacional on loan from Lokomotiv Moscow. Costa did not play in to Slaven Bilic’s first-team plans at the Russian club, and is now searching for regular playing time in Portugal, which he will undoubtedly get. Da Costa moved from West Ham in June 2011, and enjoyed a relatively successful first season at the club, most notably scoring two against Zenit.

Eder Being Tracked


Eder

Academica to Porto, Arsenal, or Palermo?

Academica forward Eder, also known as Ederzito, is currently being tracked by a host of some of the biggest clubs in Europe. Eder has scored seven goals in all competitions so far this season, and has helped Academica to sixth in the Liga Zon Sagres. The forward was born in Guinea-Bissau, but remains eligible to play for the Portuguese national team as he has yet to play for the African country and has resided in Portugal for the necessary amount of time. A call-up may not be too far away. The player has stated that he hopes to travel with the Portuguese squad to Euro 2012, and although that may be a stretch, a call-up is inevitable if he continues his form. At the end of this season, Eder’s contract with Academica expires, and he will be available for free. Porto, Arsenal, and Palermo have all shown interest, with Palermo’s having already been rejected by the player. Eder has been one of the bright spots in the Liga Zon Sagres this season, which is a breath of fresh air because he is Portuguese.