Posts Tagged ‘portuguese football’

William and Brahimi

Eight matchdays have now been played in the domestic Portuguese calendar and the time is right for fans and media alike to start making conclusions about what has transpired so far. The first Classico of the season which took place at Alvalade between Sporting CP and FC Porto was no doubt the highlight of this past weekend. The goalless draw re-affirmed what most have been thinking which is that the title will likely rest with one of those clubs at the end of the season.

Meanwhile, Benfica’s struggles continued as they drew 1-1 in Madeira against Maritimo. Braga put six past Estoril. And this season’s promoted clubs Aves and Portimonense played one another in a 2-2 draw. Aves let Ricardo Soares go on Monday, replacing him with Lito Vidigal. Now, the clubs will get a chance to rest and re-assess during the international break.

Futebol Factory takes a closer look at what is happening in the Portuguese game with a new segment called Who’s Hot and Who’s Not.

Trending Up

Braga

The ‘Best of the Rest’ have been one of the top stories so far this season. New signings Dyego Sousa, Fransergio and Raul Silva have proven to be more than worth their investment. And Abel seems to be getting more out of players like Hassan and Ricardo Horta. Better still, Bruno Xadas, a player Abel knows well from the B squad, could just be the next big thing to come out of Minho. With a deep and balanced squad, Braga could knock one of the top three off their high horse.

Sporting’s New Signings

The most common criticism of the Lisbon club over the last decade and a half has been their recruiting policy. Last season, their summer signings (Bas Dost aside) were nothing short of disappointing and the club looked out of the title race by November. This season, they appear to be co-favourites and much credit should go to new signings like Bruno Fernandes, Mathieu and Rodrigo Battaglia, who have been among their best players. It might just be enough to finally bring the league title back to Alvalade.

Sérgio Conceição

In a short time, he has done wonders at the Dragão. A loss against Besiktas aside, FC Porto are the most in-form team in Portugal at the moment. Conceição has quickly set out to integrate several players returning from loan spells like Ricardo Pereira, Moussa Marega and Vincent Aboubakar which have all been excellent for him so far. And he seems to be getting more out of centre-back duo Felipe and Marcano, as well as Yacine Brahimi.

Trending Down

Benfica

The international break could not come soon enough at Luz. Benfica followed up an embarrassing 5-0 defeat to Basel mid-week with a 1-1 draw against Maritimo on Sunday. The match was an opportunity to gain some ground on Sporting and Porto but they could not get the job done despite going ahead very early. While it is true that Benfica have experienced some early season struggles on a few occasion in recent years and still went on to win four league titles. The truth is that in the past they had the players to do it. It is difficult to see that happening with the current crop.

Aves and Portimonense

Life has been difficult for promoted clubs in recent years mainly because the financial gap between Portugal’s top two divisions has become more of a chasm, with Chaves being a notable exception last season. So far, both Aves and Portimonense have not looked up to task and history has shown that it will likely get tougher for them as the season continues when the top clubs reach full stride.

Vitória de Guimarães

Braga’s resurgence is a direct contrast to their great rivals Vitória who have struggled out of the gate. Fourth-place finishers last season, they currently sit in ninth after eight rounds of action. And they have only one point through two matches in the Europa League so far. Their 1-0 loss to Belenenses on Sunday also left much to be desired. It is still early and panic has not set in for Pedro Martins just yet but it might be time to make some changes.

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GIL VICENTE - SPORTING    ( 2012/2013 )

Portuguese winger Bruma is looking to have his contract with Sporting Lisbon declared null and void so he could transfer to a different club. The 18-year old and his agent Catió Baldé have been frustrated by the slow pace of a contract extension with the club, and are looking to have his latest contract declared invalid by a court.

Bruma is said to have signed a contract with the Portuguese club in 2011 that reportedly has him under contract until 2014 with a buyout clause of €30million. His lawyer Bebiano Gomes is hoping that his client will be considered a free agent and therefore move freely to any club he chooses.

Gomes told Portuguese television station TVI this week, “At this moment, his mind is completely set at leaving Sporting.”

The 20-year-old winger who has been courted by many of Europe’s biggest clubs told Portuguese football website A Bola that he is disappointed with the situation.

“I profoundly regret how this process has played its self out. I did everything to stay at Sporting and I made it clear to my representatives that I wanted to reach an agreement,” Bruma said. “Throughout this time, Sporting has made little effort to re-sign me.”

“I want to avoid any sort of controversy with Sporting, and its fans as well. I am a professional and I will continue my career.”

In a bizarre case this week, elements of the supporters group Juventude Leonina (Young Lions) reportedly attempted to kidnap Bruma at the hotel he was staying at.

There were also some unconfirmed reports that league rivals FC Porto were trying to sign the player who is still technically under contract with Sporting, which would be against league rules and subject to major penalties.

Bruma burst on the scene last season with Sporting Lisbon in February. A natural winger, Bruma’s skill on the ball and impressive scoring ability has led to comparisons with Cristiano Ronaldo. He also scored five goals in four matches at the recent U-20 World Cup for Portugal.

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mitrovicdr1

Benfica presented Stefan Mitrović to the media on Tuesday in an official news conference at the Estádio da Luz. The 23-year-old Serbian has signed a new five-year contract with the Portuguese club.

Mitrović will come at a transfer fee of €1,2million, according to the Portuguese football website O Jogo. He is expected to join Benfica’s B squad immediately, with the possibility of contending for a starting position in the near future.

He spent last season with Belgian club K.V. Kortrijk, where he scored three goals in 28 matches in all competitions for the club.

Mitrović spoke about the growing number of Serbian players at Benfica and how that influenced his decision to join the Lisbon club. “I was glad to see so many Serbian players join Benfica because I think they will bring a new energy to the club. I hope we can win trophies together next season.”

“It is a big step forward in my career and I am very proud to represent Benfica next season,” Mitrović added.

“I am going to give everything to Benfica. On the field I will give it all. I hope to play in many matches and contribute towards winning many titles.”

Related Posts: TRANSFER WINDOW: Serbian Central Defender Stefan Mitrović Will Join Benfica Next Season

stevenvitoria1

Benfica officially announced the signing of Portuguese-Canadian defender Steven Vitória to a four-year deal on Sunday. The 26-year-old Vitória spent the last three seasons with Estoril. He comes to Benfica on a free transfer.

Standing at 1,95m, Vitória is known for his size, strength in marking, and ability to score goals, particularly on penalties. He scored 11 goals in 27 matches for Estoril this year, 8 were from the spot.

Vitória is also known for taking excellent free-kicks, which is extremely rare for a defender. He scored a terrific goal against FC Porto in a Taca da Liga match in December 2012.

The Toronto-born Vitória began playing football with the Woodbridge Strikers. In 2005, he moved to FC Porto’s youth academy. In 2007, he represented Portugal at the U-20 World Cup held in Canada.

Vitória would soon find it hard to graduate to FC Porto’s senior club and was loaned to Tourizense, Olhanense and Covilhã. In 2010 he signed with Lisbon suburban club Estoril, which was at the time languishing in the second division of Portuguese football.

In 2012, Estoril were promoted to the top division and many clubs took notice of Vitória. He was a major part in the club finishing an impressive fifth in their first season back in the first division.

Vitória told Benfica TV on Sunday that he remembers listening to broadcasts of Benfica matches on his father’s radio in Toronto while growing up.

“Joining Benfica is a dream come true. I have reached the biggest club in Portuguese football and I want to win it all,” he said. “This is the first day in the rest of my life. I come to help the club win.”

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Photo: Wikipedia Commons/An1997

Photo: Wikipedia Commons/An1997

Jesualdo Ferreira was introduced to media as the next manager of Sporting Braga on Thursday. The 67-year-old re-joins the club he previously managed between 2003-2006 on a three-year deal.

Former manager José Peseiro left the club a week ago by mutual consent. Despite finishing fourth in the league and winning the Portuguese League Cup, Peseiro’s Braga side failed to qualify for the Champions League.

Ferreira is credited with building the foundation that would make Braga a force in Portuguese football. Since Ferreira’s first full season with the club in 2003-04, Braga has finished outside the top five only once. They have qualified for European football an impressive 11 consecutive seasons.

Club president António Salvador spoke about Ferreira’s long-term contribution to the Minho club. “This is a very good day for me and the Sporting Braga family, as we are able to have someone who came here 10 years and created a new period in the club’s history. A period where we grew consistently and became a winner.”

Ferreira said that he looks back fondly on his previous tenure as manager of Os Arsenalistas , and feels great affection and gratitude towards the club, its fans and the city.

“For me, I feel the most noble gratitude. When the president (Salvador) contacted me last week, I was overcome with great emotion,” Ferreira said. “I will continue to be what I have always been: serious, honest and ambitious.”

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Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Alface

Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Alface

Benfica have formally announced the signing of manager Jorge Jesus to a new two-year contract with the club. The deal will see Jesus under contract until July 2015.

The news ends weeks of speculation about the future of Jesus, who has been with the club for four seasons. After winning the Portuguese league in his first year with the club in 2009-10, Jesus has seen FC Porto win the last three champions.

This past season, the club gave up a 4 point lead in the domestic league with only three matches to play after drawing with Estoril and losing 2-1 to eventual champions Porto. To make matters worse, Benfica would lose the Europa League final to Chelsea and the Portuguese Cup final to Vitória de Guimarães.

Since arriving from Sporting Braga in 2009, Jesus has succeeded in restoring the credibility of the club in the domestic game and in European championships. However, Benfica have not been able to break FC Porto’s dominance in domestic football in his time.

Portuguese football publication Record estimates that the club has made almost €170million from players sales during Jesus’ time at the club. Luisão, Maxi Pereira and Oscar Cardozo are the only players that remain with the club from before Jesus’ tenure began in 2009.

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OPINION: Jorge Jesus And Others Should Look To A Balanced Approach In Developing Talent

amidobalde3

Amido Baldé could be a member of Scottish Champions Celtic as early as this week, according to Portuguese football website Maisfutebol. Representatives from the club are currently in Portugal meeting with the player’s agent Cátio Baldé, and club president Júlio Mendes to negotiate his transfer.

Reports surfaced last week in the English media that the club was advancing their attempts to sign Baldé, who has drawn the attention of many clubs after an excellent season in Portugal. It is believed Celtic is offering £2.5million for him.

It is believed that Baldé would be a replacement for Gary Hooper who is expected to leave this summer. Baldé told Scottish newspaper The Daily Record that he could make fans quickly forget about Hooper.

“I think I could go on and be the best striker in Scotland – and one of the best in Europe. Celtic will obviously be playing in Europe again next season and that’s a big thing for me,” Baldé told The Daily Record.

“I know they have been watching me for some time – with teams in England and Spain as well – but the important thing to me is that I sign for a team who are playing Champions League football because that is the level I believe I should be playing at.”

Celtic have been interested in Baldé for some time. It is believed that he underwent a trial with the club before he signed with Vitória Guimarães last summer. His performance this year only rekindled their interest in him. Baldé scored 9 goals in 27 league matches with the club, and helped them beat Benfica in the Portuguese Cup final a week ago.

According to Maisfutebol, Vitória Guimarães owns only 35 percent of Baldé’s rights. His manager Cátio Baldé owns 55 percent, while his former club Sporting Lisbon own the remaining 10 percent.

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stevenvitoria1

Portuguese football website O Jogo is reporting that Benfica have entered into negotiations to sign central defender Steven Vitória. The 26-year-old’s contract with his current club Estoril expires at the end of the season and he is widely expected to move to a bigger club.

Born to Azorean parents in Toronto, Canada, Vitoria was signed by Porto in 2005. After graduating to the senior side in 2006, Vitoria was loaned to Tourizense, Olhanense and finally Covilhã. In 2010, he signed with Estoril and was the key reason for the club’s promotion to the top tier of Portuguese football this year.

Vitoria has been a revelation for the suburban Lisbon club. Standing at 1.95m tall, he is also known for his goal scoring ability. He has scored a total of 10 goals this season for Estoril, including 8 in the Liga Portuguesa. This puts him in the top 20 in league scoring overall. Though 8 of his goals have been penalties. Vitoria did score an impressive goal off a free-kick in a Taca da Liga match against Porto in December.

It is believed that Vitoria would be a long-term option for Benfica who expect first-choice central defender Ezequiel Garay to leave this summer. While club captain Luisão is now 32 and Jardel is not seen as a good enough option going forward.

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