Primeira Preview & Prediction (PPP) – Round 21


Will Hernani return to haunt his former club?

Will Hernani return to haunt his former club?

It’s the weekend of love in the Liga NOS and around the world, and, dare I say, I’m in quite the jovial mood with regards to my predictions. But, much like being in a relationship, that feeling of warmth can dissipate rather quickly.

Now, I’m still fighting an uphill battle with a 14-22 overall record up to this point, but, things are starting to improve and I’m starting to show a little consistency in this game. Last week saw me go 4-5 for the second round in a row and, with the exception of that disastrous 1-8 result a couple of weeks ago, I’ve pretty much been hovering around the .500 mark. I don’t know about you but that’s a lot better than I expected when I decided to give this series a go.

This is a new round though – the 21st round of play in the newly named Liga NOS – and, from the looks of it, it’s going to be quite an interesting one to take in.

Last week was all about unpredictability what with all the changes in personnel over the days prior, and well, we certainly got some in the results. In particular, it seemed like no lead was safe as, of the 21 goals scored in total, 8 of them came in the last 10 minutes of the game. It was quite the spectacle and reminded me of why I love this league and Portuguese football so much.

Building on the events of the last couple of weeks, and, the idea of unpredictability itself, the theme for this week seems to be identity. Or, to put it another way – who are we and what are we made of?

This is, in a lot of ways, a make or break weekend for every team in the league. Teams like Academica, Arouca, and even Guimaraes may just find themselves sitting disheveled on the couch eating a tub of ice cream asking “What if…?” at the end of the season if they don’t turn things around as soon as possible. And, what of Penafiel and Sporting? Will they be able to bounce back and continue to play well following heartbreaking results?

This weekend, perhaps more than most other weekends, will go a long way towards determining what the league table looks like at the end of the year, and, I think many of these clubs are aware of that. So, don’t be surprised to see a number of cagey matches over the next few days. Teams will not only be looking to be cautious with their opponents, but, in a philosophical sense, they’ll be looking to discover themselves as well.

Here are my picks for this Valentine’s round of play:     Continue reading

Opinion: Bernardo Silva – Benfica Loses a Gem


Photo: AS Monaco

Photo: AS Monaco

Bernardo Silva

Benfica to Monaco

It was announced this week that Benfica had officially sold 20 year-old Bernardo Silva to Ligue 1 side Monaco for just under 16 million euros. Silva has spent the first half of the season on loan at Monaco, and has impressed in both the league and the Champions League. Some may have predicted this move from the start, as Monaco had the option to purchase the midfielder as a part of the loan agreement, but there were signs that Benfica president Luis Filipe Vieira intended to bring Silva back for next season. Now, with the dust settled, all we can do is look back at what it could have been for Benfica. This is not to say that Silva’s career is over, by any stretch of the imagination. The midfielder is touted to have a bright future, and could very well be one of the most important Portuguese players of his generation, but this move has deep implications for the Portuguese game, and represents a trend currently occurring in Portugal. Continue reading

Introducing George Vieira!


PortugalFutbol.net is pleased to introduce the newest member of our writing team, George Vieira! Here’s his introduction:

Greetings and salutations everyone!

My name is George Vieira and I’m your newest writer here on PortugalFutbol.net, a website that’s quickly becoming a go-to place for English language futebol coverage worldwide. Be it by covering the Portuguese National Team, Portugal’s youth teams, the Primeira Liga, Champions League, Europa League, or Portuguese talents making a mark all over the world, I’ll be using the journalistic skills acquired in university to educate and entertain you whenever possible.

Canadian born and raised, with familial roots taking me back to the Azorean island of Sao Miguel, sport, and in particular, soccer, has always played an important part in my life. I grew up with both my parents and grandparents under the same roof and it is from them that I learned to adore the beautiful game.

When it comes to a Selecao das Quinas, I fell in love the moment Luis Figo bulged the twine from a 30 yard strike against England at Euro 2000. That goal inspired a 3-2 comeback victory the likes of which I haven’t seen from Portugal ever since. And, it made me a die-hard supporter for life.

Over on the club side of things, my grandfather was devoted to Benfica and my father was loyal to Sporting, so, I chose to not pick sides and follow Porto instead. It turned out to be quite the serendipitous decision as Porto went on to win the UEFA Cup that year, and, the following season, went on to win the Champions League under this guy named Jose Mourinho.

I’m ecstatic to now be a part of a great team of writers and hope to not only share my unique perspective on the game, but, share my passion as well. I look forward to interacting with all of you both on site and off site, and hope to learn from everyone involved in the project. Thanks again to Sam for including me.

If you’d like to learn more about me and hear my thoughts on a variety of subjects including, but not limited to, Portuguese football, feel free to follow me on twitter: @whatGVthinks

 

 

 

Portuguese Liga Week in Review: Round 1


Photo: Sergio Miguel Santos

Photo: Sergio Miguel Santos

The Primeira Liga began last weekend, and with the transfer window still open, there is still plenty of news to report. Orlando Mac takes a look at the major headlines over the past week.

Luis Felipe’s Interview


 

Luis Felipe Vieira’s interview this week on BTV had many people talking, with Financial Crisis, Player Transfers, and Portuguese Players making up some of the talking points. Some Eagle fans were quite critical of the interview claiming they didn’t get honest answers from LFV, but the fact is that any CEO of any business will not outright tell you they failed, or that there is trouble at hand. That would lose them public confidence and in turn create a bigger crisis. So like any CEO Luis Felipe did some dancing around questions until he could get in the words he wanted. I thought overall he did a good job in breaking down the key areas of concern, and if you read between the lines a bit, as you have to do in these situations, everything is still headed in the right direction, for now.

Sporting Hold-out Trouble


 

You couldn’t escape the news on Sporting CP’s troubles with Rojo and Slimani both faced discipline from Sporting for trying to force a move away from the Avalade. I applaud Bruno de Carvalho for his efforts to not be held ransom over the two World Cup stars, but was disturbed by the constant press releases on their own site. It looked unprofessional at times with the he says, she says reports. Unfortunately this is still part of cleaning up Godinho’s mess at the club, but it really proved how 3rd party contracts can have a harsh effect on a club, at the most inopportune moments. Sporting was also reported to be filing a tampering complaint with FIFA against Manchester United over the Rojo fiasco.

Luisao Tampering


 

On the topic of tampering it was also reported this week that Benfica could file a complaint with FIFA over Juventus’ attempt to lure Luisao, the Eagles captain, to Italy. Juventus is reported to have suggested to Luisao to have his contract terminated so he could join them on a free transfer. This really angered not only LFV but also the loyal fans of the club who took to twitter en masse to show their displeasure. Luisao is a long serving Benfica player with over 10 years of service, first signing with the club in 2003. Of anyone that could request a transfer he would be the one who through his service would merit a transfer request, but in a summer that Benfica loses Garay, Luisao’s move would decimate the back line. So I can’t see LFV allowing it to happen.

Nani Coming Home?


 

After the embarrassing start to the Rojo situation reports suggest that Sporting are trying to turn the tables and have requested that Nani be included in any deal for Rojo. As reported it would be on loan, but Manchester United would be covering most of Nani’s wage bills. This would be a great coup for BdC, and having Nani back in the Liga would be the delight of not only the Sporting fans, but would make for some great games for Liga fans in general.
All in all it was a very interesting week in the Portuguese Liga with many talking points, especially 17 year old wonder boy Neves who impressed with his maturity and positioning. All in all it was an impressive start to the season, keep it locked here to PortugalFutbol.net for your Portuguese Football fix, and follow us on twitter as we post links to late breaking news regularly.

Transfer Round-up – 1/26/14


Pedro Mendes - SassuoloPedro Mendes

Parma to Sassuolo

After a limited amount of playing time so far for Serie A side Parma, Pedro Mendes has sealed a free transfer to league-strugglers Sassuolo.

Hugo Vieira - BragaHugo Vieira

Braga to Gil Vicente (loan)

After moving to Braga from Benfica this summer, Vieira has found playing time hard to come by this season. In the opportunities he was given at Braga, Vieira failed to impress. Now, Vieira will join the club where he made his start seasons ago.

Betinho - Vitoria SetubalBetinho

Sporting to Vitoria Setubal (loan)

After impressing this season for Sporting B, scoring nine in 17 games, Betinho will now have his first opportunity at playing in the Liga Zon Sagres, joining Vitoria Setubal on loan until the end of the season.

Salvador Agra - AcademicaSalvador Agra

Real Betis to Academica (loan)

Salvador Agra has joined Academica on loan until the end of the season after a disappointing loan spell at Braga during the first half of the season.

Andre GomesAndre Gomes

Benfica to ?

Benfica announced today that Andre Gomes has been sold to an unnamed team for 15 million euros. After a promising start to his Benfica career, Gomes has found playing time very limited, and although Matic has departed the team for Chelsea, it does not appear that Gomes will see more playing time. Liverpool have been touted to make a move for the midfielder, and Anfield could very well be where Gomes ends up at the end of the day.

Hugo Vieira Loaned to Sporting Gijon


Hugo Vieira – Benfica to Sporting Gijon (loan)

Benfica youngster Hugo Vieira  has joined Spanish second division side Sporting Gijon on loan from Benfica for the entire season. The forward impressed for Gil Vicente last season in the Liga Zon Sagres, and Benfica promptly snapped him up in the off-season. First team opportunities look quite limited at Benfica, especially after the Eagle’s purchase of Argentina international Salvio. With a spot in the B team not an option, the forward has opted to go out on loan in Spain.