U-20 Stars Make Step up to U-21


Tiago Ilori and Bruma - SportingRui Jorge announced his squad for the Portugal Under-21 team on Friday for the team’s matches against Israel and Azerbaijan, and included two of the brightest prospects in Portuguese football at the moment. Tiago Ilori and Bruma, who starred for Portugal at last summer’s U20 World Cup, have made the list, and are in line to make their debut for the team. Tiago Ilori’s good form last year for Sporting and subsequent solid display at the U20 World Cup convinced Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers to splash out over seven million euros for him. Bruma, also a product of Sporting, has similar displays to that of Ilori to thank for his success. Also impressive last season, Bruma picked up the silver shoe at the U20 World Cup, and earned a move to Galatasaray, who paid in excess of eight million euros for him. Both players are enjoying solid seasons thusfar, Bruma in Galatasaray’s first team, Ilori in Liverpool’s youth side, while on the fringes of the first team. Here’s the entire list:

Goalkeepers: Daniel Fernandes (Osnabruck), José Sá (Marítimo), Luís Ribeiro (Sporting)


Defenders: Josué (Vitória Guimaraes), João Amorim (Vitória Guimaraes), Luís Martins (Gil Vicente), Miguel Rodrigues (Nacional), Paulo Oliveira (Vitória Guimaraes), Raphael Guerreiro (Lorient), Tiago Ilori (Liverpool)

 

Midfielders: André Gomes (Benfica), Tó Zé (Porto B), João Mário (Sporting B), Luís Gustavo (Rio Ave), Rafa (Braga), Sérgio Oliveira (Paços de Ferreira), Tiago Silva (Belenenses), William (Sporting)

Forwards: Betinho (Sporting B), Bruma (Galatasaray), Ivan Cavaleiro (Benfica B), Ricardo Pereira (Porto), Ricardo Esgaio (Sporting B)

Ones to Watch – Liga Zon Sagres 2013/2014


Portugal’s Liga Zon Sagres has formed a reputation for being one of the best formative leagues in Europe. With a seemingly endless conveyer-belt of talent flowing out of the league, it is no wonder that so many young players choose Portugal over other countries. Players such as David Luiz, Fabio Coentrao, Di Maria, Joao Moutinho, Hulk, and Falcao (among others) have all spent their formative years in the Iberian country, only to make multi-million euro moves abroad to some of the finest teams in the world.

This season, there are many young Portuguese talents who will be hoping to emulate the likes of Coentrao and Joao Moutinho; with hopes to earn a big move abroad; with hopes to be noticed by Paulo Bento and be selected for the national team. Regardless, there is much hope, both for the players and the spectators. At the root of all of this is a single hope: that Portuguese football may grow.

In this segment, Portugal Football is highlighting 25 under-22 Portuguese players from across the Liga Zon Sagres. These players are certainly players to watch for. Some are already proven players, while some are yet to showcase their talents on the big stage. So, without further ado, the ones to watch.

Academica

Anibal Capela - Academica

NAME 

AGE  POSITION  2012-2013 APPS 
 Anibal Capela  22  Center Defense  29

Belenenses

Tiago Silva - Belenenses

NAME  AGE  POSITION  2012-2013 APPS 
Tiago Silva  20  Attacking Midfield  46

Benfica

Andre Almeida - Benfica

NAME  AGE  POSITION  2012-2013 APPS 
Andre Almeida  22  Midfield/Wingback  40

Andre Gomes

NAME  AGE  POSITION  2012-2013 APPS 
Andre Gomes  20  Center Midfield  27

 

Braga

Luis Silva - Braga 2013-2014 preseason

NAME  AGE  POSITION  2012-2013 APPS 
Luis Silva  20  Center Midfield  44

Rafa - Braga 2013-2014 preseason

NAME  AGE  POSITION  2012-2013 APPS 
Rafa  20  Attacking Midfield  47

Salvador Agra - Braga

NAME  AGE  POSITION  2012-2013 APPS 
Salvador Agra  21  Winger  23

Estoril

Leandro - Estoril

NAME  AGE  POSITION  2012-2013 APPS 
Leandro  21  Forward  36

Gil Vicente

Luis Martins - Gil Vicente

NAME  AGE  POSITION  2012-2013 APPS 
Luis Martins  21  Left-Back  33

Maritimo

Danilo Pereira - Maritimo

NAME  AGE  POSITION  2012-2013 APPS 
Danilo Pereira  21  Defensive Midfield  31

Nacional

Miguel Rodrigues - Nacional

NAME  AGE  POSITION  2012-2013 APPS 
Miguel Rodrigues  20  Center Defense  19

Jota - Nacional

NAME  AGE  POSITION  2012-2013 APPS 
Jota  20  Midfield  20

Olhanense

Pele - Olhanense

NAME  AGE  POSITION  2012-2013 APPS 
Pele  21  Defensive Midfield  5

Pacos Ferreira

Sergio Oliveira - Pacos Ferreira

NAME  AGE  POSITION  2012-2013 APPS 
Sergio Oliveira  21  Midfield  36

Porto

Tiago Rodrigues - Porto

NAME  AGE  POSITION  2012-2013 APPS 
Tiago Rodrigues  21  Midfield  42

Ricardo - Porto

NAME  AGE  POSITION  2012-2013 APPS 
Ricardo  19  Winger  37

Rio Ave

Luis Gustavo - Rio Ave

NAME  AGE  POSITION  2012-2013 APPS 
Luis Gustavo  20  Midfield  24

Roderick - Rio Ave

NAME  AGE  POSITION  2012-2013 APPS 
Roderick Miranda  22  Center Defense  16

Sporting

Tiago Ilori - Sporting

NAME  AGE  POSITION  2012-2013 APPS 
Tiago Ilori  20  Center Defense  32

Cedric - Sporting

NAME  AGE  POSITION  2012-2013 APPS 
Cedric  21  Right-Back  25

Vitoria Guimaraes

Paulo Oliveira - Vitoria Guimaraes

NAME  AGE  POSITION  2012-2013 APPS 
Paulo Oliveira  21  Center Defense  43

Ricardo Gomes - Vitoria Guimaraes

NAME  AGE  POSITION  2012-2013 APPS 
Ricardo Gomes  21  Forward  31

Cafu - Vitoria Guimaraes

NAME  AGE  POSITION  2012-2013 APPS 
Cafu  20  Winger  23

Vitoria Setubal

Ricardo Horta - Vitoria Setubal

NAME  AGE  POSITION  2012-2013 APPS 
Ricardo Horta  18  Forward  16

Miguel Lourenco - Vitoria Setubal

NAME  AGE  POSITION  2012-2013 APPS 
Miguel Lourenco  21  Center Defense  22

Rabiola Moves to Braga


Rabiola - Aves

Rabiola

Aves to Braga

Aves forward Rabiola has moved up a division to SC Braga. The striker currently leads the Liga Orangina scoring charts with 14 goals in 24 appearances, and has enjoyed a wonderful season thus far. Rabiola will most likely not appear for Braga’s first team, but instead will be inserted into the B team, which also plays in the Liga Orangina. His contract is valid until 2017.

Beto Loaned to Sevilla


Beto - Braga

Beto

Braga to Sevilla (loan)

Braga goalkeeper Beto has been loaned to La Liga side Sevilla until the end of the season. Beto has been Braga’s first choice goalkeeper this season after joining from Porto on a free transfer. His recent performances have not been up to standard, and are likely a reason for this move. Beto may be first choice at the Spanish club, but may find himself playing second fiddle to Andres Palop, who has been their first choice for the majority of the season thus far. The loan has an option to buy.

Coentrao to be Involved in Bale Swap Deal


Fabio Coentrao – Real Madrid to Tottenham?

News has come out recently that Real Madrid have made Tottenham winger Gareth Bale their number one target for this upcoming transfer window. Bale has shown his credentials as one of the finest young wingers in the game at the moment, and Real hope to add him to their squad. In order to make the deal more attainable, according to reports, Real Madrid are prepared to include Fabio Coentrao in the deal. So, Coentrao would move to Tottenham, while Bale would move the opposite direction to Real Madrid. Coentrao would likely not find holding down a starting position very hard. Regardless of whether this move goes through, it is looking more likely every day that Fabio Coentrao will not be a Real Madrid player next season.

Bebe Returns to U-21 Team


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)

Liga Orangina Youngster to Watch: Miguel Rosa


Miguel Rosa

Belenenses

Player to Watch

Those who have followed the Liga Orangina over the past two seasons at all will know the name Miguel Rosa well. Rosa is currently on loan from Benfica at Belenenses, where he played last season, also on loan. Miguel Rosa is primarily a center-midfielder, who is just as adept at the attacking-midfield spot. Despite his sometimes deeper-lying position, Rosa has earned a goalscoring reputation. Last season, he contributed eleven goals for Belenenses, and this season he already has five.

Last season, Miguel Rosa was in red-hot form for Belenenses. As stated earlier, the midfielder contributed an impressive eleven goals for the team. His goalscoring exploits and overall stellar play earned him the Liga Orangina Player of the Year award. This feat did not go unnoticed by the club that, and does, own him, Benfica. The Portuguese giants announced that Miguel Rosa would join the first team for preseason training this season. Despite some promising performances, Benfica loaned out Miguel Rosa once again to Belenenses for the entirety of this season. The midfielder has continued his good form on a lesser scale, but there is still evidence that he is growing as a footballer.

Despite his good form for various clubs in the Portuguese second-tier, Rosa has appeared very infrequently for the youth national teams of Portugal. The midfielder only made four appearances for the Portugal Under-19 team, and despite scoring three goals for the team, he was never called to any higher youth setup. If Miguel Rosa can earn a spot in Benfica’s midfield next season, which looks unlikely, he could earn a spot in the Portugal National Team’s midfield. In an attempt to gain enough playing time, Rosa may have to cut his ties with Benfica, however.

Miguel Rosa has shown time and time again that he is too skilled to be playing in the Liga Orangina. Some would argue that he is the most talented player in the league at the moment, after it was confirmed that he was last season. Regardless, Miguel Rosa looks to be a solid player for seasons to come, whether it is in the Liga Orangina, the Liga Zon Sagres, or another league in Europe.

Liga Orangina Youngsters to Watch – Anibal Capela


Anibal Capela

Sporting Covilha

Player to Watch

Anibal Capela is one of the better known names in the world of young Portuguese players. Anibal’s primary position is in the center of defense, although he is adept at playing on either side of the defense. Like Dani Coelho, he has been loaned this season by Braga to Sporting Covilha.

Anibal shot to prominence in late 2010 when, at the age of 19, when he started a match for Braga against Beira-Mar. By that point, the defender had already appeared for the Portugal Under-20 team, and looked to be an asset for Braga for years to come. A little over a month after his debut for Braga, Anibal started, and played 90 minutes, in the team’s Champion’s League group stage match against Shakhtar Donetsk. Although the team lost, Anibal put in an admirable personal performance.

This season, at Sporting Covilha, Anibal has continued his form, and thus grown his reputation. Already having appeared in 11 league matches this season, it came as no surprise when Anibal was earned a cal-up from Portuguese Under-21 coach Rui Jorge. Anibal is already firmly established in the youth national teams in Portugal. He was a part of the U-20 squad at last summer’s Toulon Tournament, and would have been an integral part of the team at the following U-20 World Cup, if he had not been injured.

Anibal Capela is a certainty for the Braga first team in seasons to come. Already established as a star for the future, along with the likes of Nuno Reis and Roderick Miranda, Anibal’s future looks bright.

Liga Orangina Youngsters to Watch: Dani


Dani Coelho

Sporting Covilha

Player to Watch

Talented Portuguese right-backs are becoming more common than in recent years. Dani Coelho can easily be named as one of the most talented young right-backs playing in Portugal. Currently owned by Braga, he has spent two spells in the Portuguese Second Division B, which is the third tier in Portugal. He is playing his trade this season at Liga Orangina side Sporting Covlila, and has had a decent debut season in the league.

Dani first rose to prominence, more or less, when, at the age of 19, he was named on the bench for two of Braga’s games. He did not appear in either of those games, and has not yet made an appearance for Braga in the league. He has, however, been making appearances for lower division clubs. Only aged 22, Dani has already made 38 appearances in the Portuguese Second Division B, and ten in the Liga Orangina. Those are some impressive tallies for a player of his age.

Courtesy of his impressive performances for Estrela Amadora and Vizela, both in the Portuguese Second Division B, Dani earned a call-up to the Portuguese Under-21 team in early 2011 for a match against Sweden. He made his debut in that match, starting and playing until halftime. That was not to be his last appearance for the team, however. He has gone on to play for the team a further three times, and has been generally impressive.

Judging on his performances for Sporting Covilha and the Portugal Under-21 team, Dani is certainly a possibility for Braga’s first team next season. The defender is certainly a star for the future.

Yannick Close to Porto


Yannick Djalo

Unattached to Porto?

Reports coming out of Portugal suggest that Yannick Djalo is close to signing for FC Porto. Supposedly, the deal is mere hours away from completion, and will likely be relatively painless, since the winger is a free agent. Yannick had been very close to signing on at Aston Villa, but the proposed trial was rejected for one reason or another. If the move to Porto does materialize, Yannick will be the second player in the past two years to move from Sporting to Porto, the other being Joao Moutinho.