Nelson Oliveira Receives First Call


Paulo Bento released a squad list for the Portugal National Team’s upcoming friendly against Poland, and included some surprises. The most noticeable is his inclusion of Nelson Oliveira in the squad. Nelson Oliveira is only a fringe player at Benfica, and though he has shown his worth for the team in cup matches and in various youth levels of the Portugal National team, his call-up comes as a surprise. But with Nuno Gomes lacking match fitness, Paulo Bento was left with no other choice. Nelson, Ricardo Costa, Rolando, and Silvestre Varela all return to the squad after missing out on selection last time around.

Goalkeepers: Beto, Eduardo, Rui Patrício

Defenders: Bruno Alves, Coentrão, João Pereira, Pepe, Nélson, Ricardo Costa, Rolando

Midfielders: Carlos Martins, João Moutinho, Manuel Fernandes, Miguel Veloso, Raúl Meireles, Rúben Micael

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Hugo Almeida, Hélder Postiga, Nani, Nélson Oliveira, Quaresma, Varela

Transfer Rumors – 1/16/12


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.

Adrien Silva

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.

Joao Pereira

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.

Diogo Ribeiro

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.

Silvestre Varela

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.

Transfer Rumors – 1/9/12


There almost always seems to be more rumors during the transfer window than actual deals. This season has not been an exception, and with the rumors flying in, here are some of the more notable ones.

Salvador Agra

Olhanense to Real Betis?

Salvador Agra has been nothing short of a revelation for Olhanense this season. The winger, who can also be deployed as a striker, joined Olhanense from Varzim at the beginning of the season. Not much was expected of him, at least not as much as he as shown. Though he has only scored once thus far this season, he has proved himself as a vital piece of the team through his lively and smart play. Other clubs have not ignored this. Real Betis look to be front-runners for his signature. Osasuna and Koln have all said to be interested recently, and Betis even had an offer rejected. Olhanense has stated that they do not plan to sell the winger, regardless of the price.

Varela

Porto to Roma?

Another winger that may be on his way out of Portugal is Silvestre Varela. Varela was in spectacular form last season, and was one of the reasons that Porto were as successful as they were. This season, under new coach Vitor Pereira, Varela has found playing time much too hard to come by. The arrival of Djalma from Maritimo in the off season has reduced his playing time further, and talk of winger Yannick Djalo joining the club may just be the last straw. Varela is fed up with sitting on the sidelines, which will undoubtedly hinder his chances of making the Portuguese squad for Euro 2012. Roma’s ears have perked up at all of this talk. The Italian giants are said to have made Varela their number one target.

Bruno Varela Recieves Call


The main surprise in Rui Jorge’s latest U-21 squad is the inclusion of 17 year-old Benfica goalkeeper Bruno Varela. The keeper has been playing with the club’s youth team for this season, but was surprisingly on the bench for one of Benfica’s league matches earlier in the season. While it seems unlikely that he will see any playing time for the Portugal U-21 team, it is still a remarkable feat at the age of 17. Here’s the full list:

Goalkeeper: Bruno Varela (Benfica), Cristiano Figueiredo (Valencia), Mika (Benfica)

Defenders: Cédric (Academic), Joao Pereira (Trofense), Mário Rui (AS Gubbio), Nuno Reis (Cercle Brugge), Pedro Mendes (Real Madrid), Reuben (Maritimo), Vítor Bastos (Atletico)

Midfielders: Ludovic (Feirense), André Almeida (UD Leiria), André Martins (Sporting), Diogo Amado (Estoril), Josue (Pacos Ferreira), Pele (AC Milan), Sana (Valladolid)

Forwards: Abel Camara (Belenenses), Diogo Viana (Penafiel), Nelson Oliveira (Benfica), Rui Fonte (Spanish), Salvador Agra (Olhanense), Wilson Eduardo (Olhanense)

Danny Dropped, Varela his Replacement


Danny has dropped out of the Portuguese squad for their upcoming crunch games against Iceland and Denmark, attributing his absence to personal reasons. Following the Ricardo Carvalho debacle, many are speculating whether Danny indeed left for personal reasons, or if it is an elaborate story to cover up some more disputes. The vice-president of the Portuguese Football Federation, Amandio de Carvalho, denied any controversy whatsoever, stating that the winger simply left for personal reasons. Regardless, Silvestre Varela has been called up as his replacement. This decision has baffled many, who feel that Varela’s poor form this season does not merit an international call-up, and players such as Helder Barbosa and Vieirinha deserve one more. Frankly, I agree with them, but I also see Bento’s reasoning. Varela has been with the squad for some time now, already having played three times for the Seleccao, as compared to Barbosa and Vieirinha, who have yet to debut. Bento is searching for consistency and team chemistry for the two upcoming games, which are crucial.

Veloso, Machado Added; Coentrao, Varela Dropped


Due to an injury picked up during training, Paulo Bento has announced that Fabio Coentrao will not feature for the Seleccao during Wednesday’s friendly match against Spain. This comes as a blow for the team, as Coentrao was a live-wire at left-back. He is a hard player to replace. Genoa midfielder Miguel Veloso, who can also play at left-back, was called in to replace the Benfica man. Elsewhere, Paulo Machado was also added to the squad. Bento gave no reasons for his belated inclusion, but it is thought that he was brought in to strengthen a depleted midfield. Also, Silvestre Varela was dropped from the team due to injury. A replacement player has not been announced. Portugal face Spain in Portugal on Wednesday the 17th of November.

Yannick Drafted In


Sporting forward Yannick Djalo has replaced the injured Varela ahead of Portugal’s upcoming Euro 2012 qualification match against Cyprus. Varela was injured while in duty for Porto, so Yannick was called up. Yannick has been in great form lately, scoring against Brondby in the Europa League, and more recently against Naval in the Liga Zon Sagres. More importantly, Yannick has grown incredibly as a player in the past year. “I was surprised by the call. [I] Was focused on my club and I honestly did not expect to be called,” said Djalo. When asked about the imminent Euro 2012 qualification campaign, Yannick replied simply and accurately: “We are still at an early stage, but Portugal is always forbidden to lose points.”

Ronaldo Out, Quaresma In; Varela Questionable


Quaresma will replace the injured Cristiano Ronaldo for the Seleccao’s upcoming Euro 2012 qualification matches. Portugal will face Cyprus first (at home), then Norway (away), and they will have to do it without their captain. Quaresma, who was one of the three reserves, has been called into action to replace the injured captain. Ronaldo was injured in Real Madrid’s 0-0 draw against Mallorca in the Spanish League on Sunday and is expected to be out for up to three weeks. Meanwhile, Silvestre Varela was withdrawn from the Porto-Rio Ave game due to an injury. The Porto medical staff says that they’re still assessing the extent of his injury. In the event that he is withdrawn from the squad, Paulo Machado will be his replacement.

Match Report: Portugal 2-0 China


Portugal edged China on Wednesday, with the typical great first-half showing, and the abysmal second-half showing. Goals were scored by Hugo Almeida and Liedson. Porto winger Varela debuted for the Seleccao, who were sporting their brand-spanking-new World Cup away jerseys. Henrique Hilario also made his national team debut, coming on for Eduardo.

Portugal started off the game looking confident, with Nani and Almeida both coming close to breaking the deadlock, but just after the 30 minute mark, Cristiano Ronaldo won the ball at half-line, and threaded his pin-point pass to Hugo Almeida, who blasted it into the back of the net. Soon after, Duda’s beautifully taken free-kick ricocheted off of the crossbar. Portugal were not really searching for that second goal. The second half was hard to watch. Due to all of the substitutions, Portugal failed to really find their flow, and with Tiago having been substituted out, Joao Moutinho and Raul Meireles were not filling the void well. The best chance of the second half fell to Raul Meireles, who sent his powerful shot into the post after some nice wing play from Varela left him with a shot. With the final minutes ticking away, it looked as if the score would stay at 1-0. In the 94th minute, however, a Raul Meireles corner kick was headed to Moutinho, whose long shot was deflected into the goal by Liedson, making the final score 2-0 Portugal.

Overall it was a decent showing, but Portugal have a lot of work to do if they wish to advance out of their World Cup group.

Eduardo (Hilario, 46), Paulo Ferreira, Rolando, Bruno Alves (Tonel, 63), Duda (Miguel, 46), Raul Meireles, Tiago (Pedro Mendes, 46), Simao (Joao Moutinho, 46), Cristiano Ronaldo (Liedson, 46), Hugo Almeida, Nani (Varela, 62)

Highlights:

Queiroz Releases List of Seventeen


Carlos Queiroz released a 17-man squad list today for Portugal’s upcoming friendly match against China. Included in this squad is Porto playmaker, Varela, who has yet to make his debut for the Senior National Team. Varela has been prolific for Porto this season, scoring some wonderful and vital goals, so it came as no surprise when Queiroz called the winger up for the first time. Sporting duo Joao Moutinho and Miguel Veloso were surprisingly not included in this squad. Queiroz stated that players called up for the U-23 team, and not the Senior Team, still have quite a large chance at playing at the World Cup, saying:  For me the U23 team, together with the senior team, allows all players to obtain visibility and experience. Some will play against Wales, others against China. My decisions regarding these two squads were made jointly in preparation for the World Cup,

Here’s the full squad:

Atlético de Madrid: Simão Sabrosa e Tiago
Chelsea FC: Hilário, Paulo Ferreira e Ricardo Carvalho
Málaga CF: Duda
Manchester United FC: Nani
FC Porto: Bruno Alves, Raul Meireles, Rolando e Varela
Real Madrid: Cristiano Ronaldo
Sporting: Liedson e Pedro Mendes
SC Braga: Eduardo
Valência: Miguel
Werder Bremen: Hugo Almeida