Sérgio Oliveira to Move to Porto?


Sergio Oliveira - Pacos FerreiraAccording to reports coming out of Portugal for some time, Paços Ferreira midfielder Sérgio Oliveira is set to return to Porto, after a two-season stay in Paços. With the Liga NOS season winding down (or winding up depending on your viewpoint), transfer rumors abound. Porto is at the heart of a lot of the transfer speculation, and the latest speculation is centered around Sergio Oliveira. Continue reading

What to Look Forward to in 2015: Portuguese Football Edition


With Fernando Santos in charge of the National Team, the future looks promising

With Fernando Santos in charge of the National Team, the future looks promising

It was an interesting year in Portuguese football, as always. For the Portuguese National Team, 2014 saw hope slashed by a disappointing World Cup run, which was followed by a fresh renewal following the appointment of Fernando Santos. Domestically, 2014 saw Benfica lift an historic treble, while a resurgent Sporting side edged out a lethargic Porto side in the league. Teams such as Estoril and Nacional also enjoyed successful seasons. The beginning of the 2014-2015 season saw the expansion of the Primeira Liga from 16 teams to 18 teams, with Boavista rejoining the top flight after a seven season absence. Outside of Portugal, Cristiano Ronaldo’s Real Madrid won the Champions League, while Tiago’s resurgent form helped Atletico Madrid to their first La Liga title in almost two decades. With 2014 behind us, it’s time to look forward to 2015; a year that will be sure to excite.  Continue reading

Pedro Tiba’s Rise to Prominence


Photo: sapo.pt

Photo: sapo.pt

Recently, rumors have surfaced linking Braga’s Pedro Tiba to a transfer to French side Marsielle. For those who have followed the Primeira Liga since last season, this rumor comes as little surprise. Pedro Tiba has been immense since his debut in the league last season, and his move to Braga this summer and subsequent National Team selection highlight how impressive his performances have been. But just two seasons ago, Tiba was playing in the Portuguese Second Division, which is the country’s third division. Now, he’s a starter for a Primeira Liga team and is being linked to the current Ligue 1 leaders. Let’s take a closer look at his meteoric rise. Continue reading

Player to Watch: João Mário


Joao Mario - SportingWhen João Mario Naval da Costa Eduardo graced the pitch of the Stade de France on October the 13th 2014 as a substitute for Cristiano Ronaldo, every Portuguese adepto, young and old, took attention. Another stalwart graduate of the famed Sporting Lisbon academy, the young starlet had taken another leap in his career as one of Santos’ newest recruits

When João Mario graced the pitch of the Stade de France on October the 13th 2014 as a substitute for Cristiano Ronaldo, every Portuguese adepto, young and old, took attention. Another stalwart graduate of the famed Sporting Lisbon academy, the young starlet had taken another leap in his career as one of Santos’ newest recruits Continue reading

Rui Jorge Names Squad of 23 for Playoff Matches


Rui JorgePortugal Under-21 coach Rui Jorge named yesterday a 23 man squad to face the Netherlands in the playoff for the 2015 UEFA U-21 European Championship. The playoff is a two-match series, with first played in Netherlands on the 9th and the other in Portugal on the 14th.  Needless to say, these two matches are of great importance. This is the closest the U-21 team has come to qualification to a major tournament since 2007, which is the last time the team appeared in a U-21 Euro.  Continue reading

3 Reasons Why Portugal Needs to Tap Into Their ‘Fountain of Youth’


Ricardo Esgaio - Portugal U21 - with Luis Martins and Ricardo

It’s About Time

3 Reasons Why Portugal Needs to Tap Into Their ‘Fountain of Youth’ RIGHT NOW!


 

I still can’t get over it. And when I blink, it’s like I’m watching the whole thing all over again. I floss, and I think about Joao Moutinho’s flat cross. I mop, and I think about Nani coming to a complete stop. I order a pizza slice, and I think about Eder’s version of Bambi on ice. It’s that game… that miserable excuse of a game where Portugal actually lost 1-0 at home to Albania.

In terms of horrifying matches to experience, it ranks right up there with the Euro 2004 final – it gave me a loss of appetite, laryngitis, nausea, dizziness, and a broken remote control. But, what sets them apart is that this latest result didn’t come with a broken heart. It came with a full-blown crisis. And that makes things even worse. Continue reading

Player to Watch: Ruben Neves


Portuguese Football could be on the cusp of another “Golden Generation.” With the Under-19’s success at the U-19 Euros this summer and the Under-21’s on the brink of qualification for next summer’s Euro tournament, there is much reason to be excited. On top of that, Portugal has qualified for three out of the past four U-20 World Cups, and have impressed in the most recent two. 

To bring some of this success to light, PortugalFutbol.net has revamped our “Players to Watch” section. On a regular basis, a member of our writing team will highlight one player who has the potential for a spectacular career. We want to bring young talent out of obscurity, so as to show the true status of Portuguese youth football. 

In our first installment, Mitchell Rua takes a look at Porto’s Ruben Neves, who famously debuted for Porto 10 days ago against Maritimo at the age of 17. In that same game, he managed to score, making him the youngest player in Porto’s history to score on his debut. Mitchell has the full story below.


Ruben Neves - Porto preseason 2014-2015

On the 15th of August  2014 a boy by the name of Ruben Neves graced the hallowed turf of the Estadio Dragão in front of a raucous home crowd of 50,000 Tripeiros.

Born in Mozelos to the north of Portugal on the 15th of March 1997, the diminutive midfield lynchpin had little to no notoriety outside the youth ranks, heeding Lopetegui’s call and taking the bull by the horns with an impressive pre-season. The youngster, at only 17 years and 155 days, had become the youngest player to appear and score in a league match for FC Porto; eclipsing the likes of Fernando Gomes and Paulo Futre, legends of the blue and white.

Gomes was only 17 years and nine months old when he bagged a brace on debut. Almost forty years later, midfield dynamo Ruben Neves had beaten the striker’s record by four months, opening the scoring after 11 minutes en route to securing a 2-0 victory against CS Maritimo.

Undoubted Potential

Joining Porto’s youth team at the age of eight in 2005, Neves rose the ranks before joining Padroense FC on loan during the 2012/13 campaign, as well as for Porto’s Under-17 side and as an unused substitute in B team fixtures last season. He had similarly led an impressive youth career in the red of Portugal, with 43 appearances and 3 goals at the time of writing, earmarked by an impressive tournament at the 2014 UEFA European Under-17 Championship. The Portugal skipper led his side to a semi-final berth as they were pipped by England to the showpiece final, featuring in all four of their matches. Neves, “Portugal’s captain and the man who made things tick in midfield,” was named among the top 10 talents of the tournament by UEFA journalists, “constantly prompting attack and keeping the ball circulating for A Seleção das Quinas.”

But it was the 2014/15 season that would set Neves’ name in effervescence. With the defensive midfield position now vacant after Fernando’s departure for Manchester City, ending his long service for the Dragões; Nigerian up-and-comer Mikel ruled out through injury and Tomas Podstawki’s participation in the European Under-19 Championship; Neves seized his chance to impress the new man in the dugout, Julen Lopetegui.  A string of fine performances in pre-season brought with it much acclaim; the presentation match against AS Saint-Etienne, the highlight as Lopetegui commented on “a strong mindset” post-match.

A Dream Debut

On that faithful night in Porto, the young Neves graced the pitch where his heroes had laid their claim for footballing immortality. At 11 minutes, a short Quaresma corner was played to Alex Sandro, whose cross was deflected into the path of the unmarked Ruben Neves. Steadying himself, his head over the ball; he took the shot in his stride, rifling a powerful long angled effort into the bottom corner and past Salin. The crowd was brought to their feet. Pure and utter joy was plastered on the face of a new hero as he slid onto his knees, letting out a cry of sheer elation.

“It was a dream debut, not only for my performance and goal but also for the win, which was the most important thing,” the now cult figure ascertained, his play and attitude light years ahead of his tender age; “I’m going to keep this award forever and I hope it will be the beginning of a very successful career.”

The Sky’s the Limit

There are astronomically high hopes for a boy barely out of diapers, but the plaudits are not undeserved. The opening goal of the 2014-15 Liga Zon Sagres Season and man-of-the-match performance was no fluke, with impressive performances, the following week against LOSC Lille and Paços de Ferreira as Neves became the youngest Portuguese player to appear in a European competition since none other than Cristiano Ronaldo. ;

A versatile midfielder, Neves has the tools to become a world beater; possessing an impressive arsenal of outstanding precision passing, perceptive positioning and vision complimented by maturity beyond his years. Commonly employed as the midfield defensive anchor; his tendency to play forward leaves defences reeling, with his fierce shots from distance and keen eye for the dead ball troubling keepers aplenty.

At such a young age; and with Lopetegui’s years of experience at youth level; Neves is in good hands. There’s no reason for Portuguese football fans, and the footballing world alike, to not expect the youngster to hit new heights. With record after record being toppled, and making the Porto midfield his own at the time of writing; Ruben Diogo da Silva Neves is a name that will be on the lips of football pundits worldwide atop of a list of young Portuguese talents being dubbed the second ‘Golden Generation.’

 

Mitchell Rua

Ilori Loaned to Granada


Tiago Ilori - Liverpool U-21 2013

Tiago Ilori

Liverpool to Granada (loan)

Liverpool have sent young central defender Tiago Ilori on loan to La Liga outfit Granada until the end of the season. Ilori has yet to make an appearance for the Liverpool first team, but has established himself well in the U-21 side. Purchased from Sporting in the summer for a fee of 7 million, Ilori is viewed as a player for the future. Liverpool has a reputation for grooming young players into first team players, and with Ilori still only 20, many hope that’s exactly what will happen.