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.
Despite it being quite far away from any transfer window, the rumors are still heating up. So, here are the major stories:
1. Ruben Pinto Tracked by Arsenal
The Portuguese Under-19 captain is currently being tracked by Premier League giants Arsenal. Pinto, who models his style of play after Rui Costa, has recently turned down other offers to the Premier League. He has, however, a contract tying him down to Benfica until 2012, so a move probably won’t be likely. Ruben has fancied a move to the Premier League for some time now, and with his heroics against Spain in this last Euro U-19 tournament, maybe that move can finally happen.
2. Milan Keeping Tabs on Coentrao and Periera
Italian giants A.C. Milan are allegedly watching Portuguese National Team fullbacks Joao Pereira and Fabio Coentrao. Coentrao was a bright spot in Portugal’s muddy World Cup campaign, and has since become a vital player for Benfica. He currently is tied to Benfica with a release clause of 30 million pounds. Joao Pereira moved from Braga to Sporting Lisbon earlier this year, and has since impressed enough to earn a call-up to the National Team.
3. Juventus in Miguel Veloso Swap Deal
Juventus are supposedly making a deal with Genoa for the trade of Sissoko and Miguel Veloso. The deal would see Miguel Veloso leave Genoa, who he joined in the summer, and meet up with Juventus, who was tracking him earlier this year. I do not foresee this move happening.
4. Pedro Marques to Make Portugal Switch
Real Madrid C midfielder Pedro Marques is reportedly being watched by Olhanense. Olhanense are currently third in the Liga Zon Sagres, having enjoyed an impressive start to their second consecutive season in the Portuguese top-flight. Marques has been playing in Spain for some time now, but it has been speculated that Olhanense want his services.
5. Chelsea Want Pepe in 2012
Following Pepe’s statement that he plans to leave Real Madrid in 2012 whan his contract is up, Chelsea have come out and said that they want him for free in 2012. Pepe has been rock-solid in his partnership with Ricardo Carvalho not only at Real Madrid, but also for the Seleccao.
Manuel Fernandes and Ruben Micael have been added into the Portugal squad ahead of their upcoming Euro 2012 qualification matches. Liedson and Miguel Veloso have withdrawn due to injury, so Paulo Bento has called up Micael and Fernandes in place of the two. Manuel Fernandes is enjoying a better season than last, having played in five games and started six. Ruben Micael really emerged last season as one of the finest midfielders playing in Portugal, thanks to his heroics for Nacional. Porto eagerly snapped him up during the January transfer window, and, after hurdling an injury, he has bounced back impressively, especially this season. Portugal are looking to improve on close to their worst possible start in Euro 2012 qualification.
Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz has released the starting lineup for the Portuguese National Team, who play Cape Verde later today. Queiroz has raised some eyebrows with his selection of Miguel Veloso and Fabio Coentrao in the starting eleven. Miguel Veloso has enjoyed an above average season, even though Sporting were abysmal. Fabio Coentrao, however, has enjoyed a spectacular season with Benfica, playing a major role in their championship success, which is why Real Madrid are currently courting him.
Here’s the lineup:
There are quite a few things happening in regards to Portuguese transfers. Like most transfer periods, there are more rumors than actual deals going through.
1. Ukra Close to Newcastle Switch – Porto-owned, Olhanense starlet, has been a revelation for the Portuguese Liga side this season. Newcastle were close to signing him this January. Their 2 million pound offer was rejected by Porto earlier this season, so they need to up the ante with their bid for the winger.
2. Vaz Te – Bolton to ? – Portuguese striker Ricardo Vaz Te, who hasn’t seen a first-team opportunity in over a season, has decided to rescind his contract with English side Bolton Wanderers. Vaz Te has suffered through questionable fitness throughout the last few seasons, so he is ready to find a fresh challenge.
3. Joao Moutinho Sure to Leave Sporting – Sporting captain Joao Moutinho has recently come out and said that he will surely leave Sporting for a Premier League club. Everton are known to be courting him, and with Nuno Valente the Portuguese scout, the deal will most likely happen.
Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz released a 24-man squad for next month’s World Cup. Due to Pepe’s questionable fitness, Queiroz released a 24-man list instead of the official 23-man list, so that if Pepe is deemed unfit, he can drop him, or if Pepe turns out to be ready, Ze Castro or Ricardo Costa can be dropped. Surprise inclusions are Beto, Daniel Fernandes, Ze Castro, and Ricardo Costa. Moutinho was not included in the squad most likely due to his mediocre season.
Here’s the list:
Goalkeepers: Eduardo (Braga), Beto (FC Porto) Daniel Fernandes (Iraklis)
Defenders: Paulo Ferreira (Chelsea), Miguel (Valencia), Fabio Coentrao (Benfica), Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea), Bruno Alves (FC Porto), Ricardo Costa (Lille), Rolando (FC Porto), Pepe (Real Madrid), Duda (Malaga) Ze Castro (Deportivo)
Midfielders: Tiago (Atletico Madrid), Deco (Chelsea), Raul Meireles (FC Porto), Miguel Veloso (Sporting), Pedro Mendes (Sporting), Danny (Zenit St Peterburg)
Wingers/Forwards: Simao Sabrosa (Atletico Madrid), Nani (Manchester United), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Liedson (Sporting), Hugo Almeida (Werder Bremen)
Queiroz also released a list of 6 reserves, just in case any of the players in the squad of 23 get injured. Rui Patricio, Joao Moutinho, Ruben Amorim, Manuel Fernandes, Eliseu and Makukula all have an outside chance of playing in the World Cup after being included in this list.
Carlos Queiroz has added Sporting captain and midfielder Joao Moutinho to the squad. Moutinho played in both of the Lions annihilations of Everton and Porto respectively, and put in some quite dazzling displays. Some may still be scratching their heads wondering why Miguel Veloso hasn’t gotten the nod, as he has been in arguably his best form as of late.
Miguel Veloso scored to make it 2-1 and give Sporting the win. Sporting now advance to the next round of the Carlesberg Cup.