Posts Tagged ‘Premier League’

Calcio John Foot

Calcio: A History of Italian Football

Calcio: A History of Italian Football by John Foot

A comprehensive look at football in Italy by an English academic. In this dense look at football culture, Foot looks at how the game has been influenced by but also helped shape Italian society over time. And for those less inclined to the Italian football tradition, this book is so abundantly rich in storytelling that it reads almost like a novel at times.

What enriches Foot’s book the most is the excellent profiles of many of Italy’s most famous personalities, including Helenio Herrera, Giuseppe Meazza, Gigi Meroni and others. It also has a chapter on virtually every aspect of football down to match-fixing, doping and refereeing. It is one of my favourite non-fiction books.

When Beckham Went to Spain: Power, Stardom, and Real Madrid by Jimmy Burns

An excellent look at the history of Real Madrid written interestingly enough by an Barcelona fan. Burns tracks the evolution of the club as a global brand, using the 2003 transfer of David Beckham as a defining moment in the it’s history. At the same time it still is a profile of the English superstar, although his name does go unmentioned for long periods.

Burns’ book attempts to decipher exactly what Beckham’s move to Spain meant for the club and the country. At the time, Beckham’s move was largely seen as less a footballing decision than a commercial one. Although we have the benefit of hindsight, Beckham’s arrival meant a lot for the stature of Spain, La Liga and Real Madrid at the time.

La Roja: How Soccer Conquered Spain and How Spanish Soccer Conquered the World by Jimmy Burns

Another book by Anglo-Spanish journalist Jimmy Burns. ‘La Roja’ is a conventional history of football in Spain. Burns takes us from the first organized matches by English industrialists in Rio Tinto to Andrés Iniesta’s winning goal at the 2010 World Cup.

The book does an excellent job of highlighting the importance of football to Spain’s society in the 20th century. The less documented stories like the Athletic Bilbao squads of the 1930s is what makes this book fascinating. But of course, there is some rich detail about the origins of the Real Madrid and FC Barcelona rivalry that still dominates the narrative of La Liga today.

Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics by Jonathan Wilson

An interesting book about the evolution of formations and tactics in the game of football. The book is sometimes complicated, so it is not recommended for those who have only a modest interest in tactics. For those that love to discuss the merits of 4-3-3 over 4-4-2 this book is essential reading.

Wilson discusses in great detail the evolving game of football, from the frustrating but effective Italian Catenaccio, to the Total Football of the 1970s, and good old fashion counter-attack. The book even considers the more controversial subjects including the natural playmaker and the sweeper. It also has some great information about some of the tactical geniuses in history like Helenio Herrera, Rinus Michels and Nereo Rocco.

Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football by David Winner

One of the most original books written on the subject of football. Ironically it has less to do with the global game and more to do with how Holland’s cultural and history has influenced the Dutch style of football, particularly the Total football era of the 1970s.

The distinct Dutch style of shifting positions on the field has everything to do with finding and exploiting space. Is this not also the primary obsession of the nation of Holland that has fought to reclaim land from the sea for almost its entire modern history. Winner illuminates his theory with brilliant examples from architecture, literature and society to create an absorbing book.

Soccernomics: Why England Loses, Why Germany and Brazil Win, and Why the U.S., Japan, Australia, Turkey–and Even Iraq–Are Destined to Become the Kings of the World’s Most Popular Sport
by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski

Does for football what Michael Lewis’ Moneyball did for baseball. This book tries to understand the global game using hard statistics. Although some of their findings will cause some to scratch their heads, the point of the book is to get people to look at football a different way. And it succeeds admirably.

In one particularly fascinating section, the authors look at why exactly the vast majority of footballers come from disadvantaged backgrounds. In another, it considers whether hosting football tournaments like the World Cup actually generates real benefits to taxpayers. In its final chapter, Soccernomics looks at penalties in a purely statistical way.

Jogo Bonito: Pele, Neymar and Brazil’s Beautiful Game by Henrik Brandão Jönsson

Jönsson tells eight different stories. The sections on the Maracanazo, Garrincha and Corinthian Democracy are the most illuminating. The author explains how football has become such an integral part of the socio-political fabric of modern Brazil. And the consequences of all that.

This book is not the definitive history of football in Brazil. Those interested in a more comprehensive history of football in the South American giant should read David Goldblatt’s Futebol Nation: The Story of Brazil through Soccer and/or Alex Bellos’ Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life.

I am Zlatan by Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Zlatan Ibrahimovic chronicles his journey from a troubled childhood to his days at AC Milan in his own words. What makes the Swedish striker’s autobiography worth reading over players like Pele and Maradona, is that he cares little about what people think of him.

It is full of interesting stories, humour and a surprising amount of heart. His experiences under some of the game’s biggest personalities like Jose Mourinho, Fabio Capello and especially Pep Guardiola is well worth reading. It is an thoroughly absorbing read.

Fear and Loathing in La Liga: Barcelona, Real Madrid, and the World’s Greatest Sports Rivalry by Sid Lowe

Fans of both clubs and football in general will be drawn to the unique way these two giants have been connected over the years. Lowe tells the story in an impartial, detailed and interesting way.

He is also not afraid to break down many of the myths surrounding the rivalry, including the perception that Real Madrid was Franco’s team and that Barcelona was persecuted because of it.  It also captures how the rivalry reflects many of the deep divisions in Spanish society today.

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Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid

Portugal’s great hope. Cristiano Ronaldo will go into the tournament as the reigning World Footballer of the Year, as well as the consensus best player in the World. The Portuguese captain is at the height of his individual ability, although there are concerns about his fitness.

Once widely criticized for his perceived lack of productivity with the national team, Ronaldo is now Portugal’s all-time leading goalscorer. He proved that he could lead his country deep in a major tournament at Euro 2012. However, the 29-year-old needs to win the World Cup to establish himself as one of the greatest players in history.

This Season: It was another excellent season for the global superstar. Cristiano Ronaldo scored 31 goals in La Liga, winning the Pichichi award as the league’s top scorer. He also set a new single season record for Champions League goals with 17, helping Real Madrid win La Décima.

Fun Fact: Cristiano Ronaldo was recently named one of Time Magazine’s Most Influential People. His profile was written by none other than Pelé who compares the Real Madrid forward to former Portuguese international Eusébio. He writes that the two have ‘the same elegance and creativity.’

Nani, Manchester United

The Manchester United winger is almost as vital to Portugal’s success as Cristiano Ronaldo. Nani is coming off an injury-plagued season. A healthy and productive Nani would be a major boost to Portugal’s chances. He has formed a good partnership with Ronaldo in the past.

This will be Nani’s third major tournament with Portugal. He was forced to withdraw from the 2010 World Cup because of a shoulder injury. Nani had a good Euro 2012, which included being named the Man of the Match in Portugal’s 3-2 group stage win against Denmark.

This Season: Nani struggled through groin and hamstring injuries this season. He played in only 11 League matches for Manchester United.

Fun Fact: Nani is trained in Capoeira, a kind of Brazilian martial arts dance. He has been known to celebrate a goal by doing the ‘Leap of death’ move.

Vieirinha, Wolfsburg

The 28-year-old was an excellent player for Portugal’s youth squads but only received his first senior selection in March 2013. Vieirinha has put together some excellent performances for the Seleção in limited action.

Vieirinha suffered a serious knee injury last September and was thought to be ruled out for the World Cup. He returned in time to play in Wolfsburg’s final Bundesliga matches. A product of FC Porto’s academy, Vieirinha moved to Greek club PAOK in 2008. He was signed by Wolfsburg in 2012 after several stellar seasons.

This Season: Vieirinha appeared in 11 Bundesliga matches for Wolfsburg. The German club finished a solid fifth in the league table.

Fun Fact: Vieirinha was named the Player of the Tournament at the 2003 UEFA European Under-17 Championship, which Portugal won by beating rivals Spain in the final. He was also named PAOK’s Player of the Season twice, as well as the Greek Super League’s Best Foreign Player in 2011.

Silvestre Varela, FC Porto

The 29-year-old has been primarily used as an impact substitute during his time with the Seleção. He scored a memorable goal against Denmark to give Portugal a 3-2 win in the group stage of Euro 2012. He currently has 22 caps for Portugal.

Silvestre Varela is a graduate of Sporting Lisbon’s youth academy. But after spending several seasons on loan, he moved to Estrela Amadora. FC Porto signed him in 2009 and he has been a productive player for the club ever since. He has won the Primeira Liga on three occasions, the Portuguese Cup twice, and the Europa League in 2010-11.

This Season: Silvestre Varela played in 25 League matches for FC Porto, scoring five goals and adding another five assists. But the Dragões had a very disappointing season by their standards, finishing third in the league table.

Fun Fact: Silvestre Varela appeared to be a lock for South Africa 2010 after an impressive first season with Porto. However, he broke his left fibula in training ruling him out for the entire tournament.

Photo: Facebook/FC Paços de Ferreira

Photo: Facebook/FC Paços de Ferreira

Bebé’s fantastic goal against Arouca on Sunday has once again propelled the young Portuguese striker into the media spotlight. Signed by Manchester United as a 20-year-old in the summer of 2010, he has spent much of his early career under the watchful eye of the media.

Bebé’s signing was a perfect story for the English press at the time. Abandoned by his family at an early age, he overcame all obstacles to play football for one of the most storied clubs in the world. Hollywood could not have written a better story.

But the wheels came off quite quickly for Bebé at Old Trafford. Then manager Sir Alex Ferguson decided to keep him on the squad. The much-hyped youngster looked far from convincing in the few opportunities he received with the club during the 2010-11 season.

In a very candid interview with Portuguese football website Maisfutebol in April 2013, Bebé admitted that he did not work hard enough in those early days at Old Trafford.

“The most experienced players on the team would say that I did not try hard enough. It is true. I thought, ‘I have made it, I do not have to give it my all every day.’ I am the only one to blame. I fooled around too much. When I tried to make up for it, it was too late. If I could go back, I would change a lot.”

Doubts began to emerge about the player’s quality. And soon after suspicions emerged about the deal as well. In May 2012, the transfer was investigated by the Portuguese authorities over suspicion of missing funds. Meanwhile, Bebé was having a hard time breaking into United’s squad.

In the summer of 2011, he was loaned to Turkish club Beşiktaş for the season. Soon after he suffered a cruciate ligament injury while playing with the Portugal U-21 squad forcing him to miss most of the season. In April 2012, he was suspended by the Turkish club after breaking a curfew.

Last season, Bebé was part of United’s pre-season tour. However, he did not see any action with the senior club when the season began. In January 2013, he was loaned to Portuguese club Rio Ave in order to receive more playing time.

At Rio Ave, he managed just one goal in seventeen League matches for the club. At times he was relegated to the wing. This past summer, he was loaned out for the third time in four seasons. This time to Paços de Ferreira.

Bebé’s volley against Sporting Braga in January was the first time many United fans had heard from him this season. Sunday’s goal against Arouca made headlines in the English press as well. And rightfully so.

Bebé back-heeled a pass to himself before firing one past Arouca goalkeeper Cássio. He now has seven goals in 21 League matches this season. That includes six goals in the last nine matches.

But this time around the headlines are very different, with the words ‘flop’ and ‘misfit’ being the most common adjectives to describe the now 23-year-old. And still short on praise.

It has not always been easy. Paços de Ferreira is currently on their third manager of the season. But the win against Arouca means that the club is now four points clear of the relegation zone, where they have been for most of the season.

Bebé has demonstrated this season that he does have the raw talent that must have alerted Carlos Queiroz and United scouts back in 2010. His finishing has improved and as a result he is scoring goals.

Although he is far from a finished product, Bebé has gone a long way in disproving the theory that he does not have what it takes. His recent production, as modest as it may be, proves that Bebé has a future as a footballer.

VIDEO: All Of Bebé’s Goals This Season With Paços de Ferreira (OJogo.pt)

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Portuguese midfielder João Carlos Teixeira made his senior debut with Liverpool on February 12th against Fulham.

The 21-year-old came in for Raheem Stirling in the 82th minute just in time to see Steven Gerrard score on a late penalty to give the Merseyside club a 3-2 win.

He put together a number of good passes and demonstrated his ability to read the game well. He also looked very comfortable with the ball at his feet, making two attempts on goal.

“I had a feeling that I would be selected to play. Before coming on, I tried to prepare myself mentally and as a result I entered the match at ease. I felt good and I think things turned out well,” he told Portuguese news agency Lusa after the match.

He also talked about how it felt to finally reach the heights of the Premier League.

“It has been a real challenge for me because, of course it is not easy. There is a lot of quality, intensity and I have worked very hard. I have put in a lot of work everyday in order to reach my goals.”

Teixeira first joined the academy of his hometown team Sporting Braga at the age of ten. A year later he moved onto the Portuguese capital, joining Sporting Lisbon’s prestigious academy in Alcochete.

After making his way through the youth ranks, he was part of the Sporting Lisbon squad that played in the inaugural NextGen Series during the 2011-12 season.

In an August 2011 group stage match against Liverpool at Anfield, Teixeira put in an excellent performance, scoring the first goal of the match in a 3-0 win for the Portuguese side.

Then manager Kenny Dalglish and club captain Steven Gerrard watched from the stands with awe. And sure enough, during the January 2012 transfer window, Liverpool and Sporting Lisbon began negotiations.

But despite his undeniable talent, there was a big obstacle to the deal. Teixeira was suffering from a serious back injury at the time. The English club agreed to pay Sporting £830,000 for the promising midfielder in the end. Teixeira would wear a brace for the next six months as his injury healed.

The gamble paid off almost immediately after Teixeira returned to action with Liverpool’s U-21 squad. He was loaned to League One club Brentford for the first half of this season but did not see much action.

Teixeira returned to Liverpool in January and would soon begin training with the first-team reserves at the Melwood training ground.

“I have contact with Alex Inglethorpe (Liverpool U21 Manager) on a daily basis and João has been one of the outstanding performers for the reserves,” Brendan Rodgers told the Liverpool Echo in February before Teixeira’s first appearance with the main club.

“I always observe in training and see where players are at and João has looked very good. His intensity, the speed of his game – he has undoubted quality and he has showed up very well.”

While at Sporting’s academy, Teixeira was often referred to as the ‘New Deco,’ because of the similarities in his style of play with the former Portuguese international. He is an offensively-minded midfielder or ‘playmaker’. However, the demands of the English game means that he will likely be expected to learn tackling and defending.

Diogo Matos, who was the director of Sporting’s academy during Teixeira’s time with the club, recently told Portuguese football website Maisfutebol that he could become a box-to-box midfielder.

“He is very dynamic, likes to have the ball at his feet and is an excellent shooter as well. If he develops the defensive side of his game, I fully believe he could become an excellent box-to-box midfielder.”

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Adrien Silva has been a major part of Sporting Lisbon’s success this season. The Portuguese midfielder has been a member of the club since the age of 13 and is finally getting a chance to play regularly.

Born in Angoulême, France, he began playing football with French club Bordeaux. At the age of 11, his parents moved to the Minho region of Portugal. After spending time with local club Associação Recreativa e Cultural de Paçô, Silva was signed by Sporting in 2002.

He made his debut with the main club at the age of 18 during the 2007-08 season under then manager Paulo Bento. However, he would soon find playing time hard to come by. He would eventually be loaned to Israeli club Maccabi Haifa for the 2010-11 season where he did not see much action either.

The following year, Silva was loaned to Portuguese club Académica where his career began to take off. He would play 37 matches for the club in all competitions, scoring eight goals. He would help the club win the Portuguese Cup that season as well.

At the beginning of the 2012-13 season, Silva returned to Sporting where he was expected to compete for a starting position in midfield. The club was in turmoil that season, on and off the field. They would go through three managers before finishing a disappointing seventh in the league.

This season under Leonardo Jardim, Silva is finally seeing regular action with the club. He plays alongside Andre Martins in a midfield triangle, with William Carvalho in the defensive role.

A box-to-box midfielder, Silva is known for his passing and dribbling skills. He told Portuguese football publication Record in July 2012 that he prefers to play as a ‘number 10.’

The son of a Portuguese father and a French mother, Silva has committed his international future to Portugal. He played for Portugal’s youth squads, making a total of 41 caps in all levels.

He received his first call-up to the Selecção squad in September 2013 as an injury replacement for Ruben Micael. However, he is yet to receive an international cap with Portugal.

Silva was recently named Sporting Lisbon’s Player of the Year for 2013. And his profile has begun to grow outside Portugal as well. West Bromwich Albion, Everton and West Ham United are all rumored to be interested in him.

He is under contract with Sporting until 2017. The deal includes a release clause of €40 million.

Marcos 'Rony' Lopes In Action For Manchester City

Marcos ‘Rony’ Lopes In Action For Manchester City

Marcos Lopes is quickly establishing himself as one of the most exciting young players in recent memory thanks to some extraordinary performances.

The 18-year-old attacking midfielder recently received his second career start at senior level for Manchester City in a League Cup match against West Ham United. And it did not take him too long to demonstrate what he is capable of.

Just three minutes into the match, Lopes delivered a perfect cross into the box for Spanish international Alvaro Negredo, who would score the opening goal. Later in the first half, he dribbled passed several West Ham defenders before laying it off to Sergio Agüero for the second goal.

Manchester City won 3-0 and Lopes was named the Man of the March. City manager Manuel Pellegrini praised the youngster’s performance.

“Marcos is a young player with a great future,” he said.

“He is just 18 years old and played with the personality he needs to play in our team.”

“I see him work every day of the week, so I was sure he would realize the kind of performance he put on last night.”

“I’m very happy for him because he deserves to do it – and he is a very important player for the future of the club.”

Born Marcos Paulo Mesquita Lopes in Belém, Brazil, his parents emigrated to Portugal when he was four. Lopes has formally committed his international future to Portugal, having already played for the U17s and U19s.

He began playing football with AD Poiares before moving to Benfica’s youth system in 2006. In 2011, the Lisbon club sold the young phenom to Manchester City where he has played in the club’s youth squads. He has begun to make headlines with the senior squad over the last year.

Lopes scored in his first ever appearance for Manchester City’s senior squad in January 2013 in an FA Cup match against Watford after coming on as a late substitute. In doing so, he became the youngest player ever to score for the English club on record.

He would make his first senior start with Manchester City in a League Cup match against Wigan Athletic on September 24th. A week later, he fired home a hat-trick for the youth squad in a 6-0 defeat of Bayern Munich. His reputation has continued to grow since then.

Lopes is an attacking midfielder, who could play out wide, as well as in the middle. He has exceptional dribbling skills, vision, tactical awareness and has demonstrated an ability to score goals as well.

Despite Lopes’ playing style being similar to Ronaldinho, his nickname ‘Rony’ is actually in honour of fellow Brazilian international Ronaldo.

In an October 2013 interview for the Portuguese football publication Record, Lopes explained how the nickname came about.

“I started playing football for my local team (AD Poiares) and I always trained with the shirt of Ronaldo ‘O Fenómeno.’ Everyone started calling me Ronaldo because no one knew my real name. After a while the coach approached me and said that Ronaldo was too long a name and started calling me Rony. Since then that has been my nickname and I have always liked it,” he said.

Every great football nation has a period that is held in regard as a ‘Golden Age.’ Portugal considers the ‘Golden Generation’ that emerged in the 1990s in that way. The squad matured in the early 2000s and included, among others, Luis Figo, Rui Costa, Vito Baia, Paulo Sousa, and Joao Pinto.

The ‘Golden Generation’ propelled Portugal back within the elite of world football but never managed to win a major tournament at senior level.

But over the last few years, a new generation of Portuguese players have begun to emerge that many believe could be the most promising in the country’s history. And there is no player that is held up in higher regard these days, Portuguese or not, than Marcos Lopes.

At 29-years-old, Cristiano Ronaldo is firmly in his prime. But he likely has this year’s World Cup and the 2016 European Championships to deliver his proud nation a major title. And after that, Portugal will be looking for a new leader.

Portugal’s success as a football nation has always fallen on the shoulders of one exceptional player. Luis Figo, Paulo Futre and of course Eusébio, were all seen in the same way during their careers.

But it is a heavy burden to place on a 18-year-old. In an interview with Portuguese news agency Lusa in January, Lopes said that his main focus is to continue to develop as a player.

“I have played for the Under-19 squad and, of course I want to play for the seleção one day. But one step at a time. I know that the manager of the national team needs to evaluate each player’s potential and how they fit into the squad,” Lopes said.

“My main objective right now is to continue to work hard each day and develop into a better player. I have to keep both feet on the ground and take it one day at a time.”

Videos:

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PLAYER PROFILE: Marcos Lopes Scores Another Great Goal for Manchester City U18 Squad

PLAYER PROFILE: Portuguese Starlet Marcos Lopes Scores In Manchester City Debut

Ivan-Cavaleiro

The early season performances of Benfica’s Ivan Cavaleiro have begun to draw the attention of many people.

The Portuguese winger scored a hat-trick against Academico Viseu this past weekend in the second division where the club’s B squad plays. He is currently the league’s leading scorer with seven goals in ten matches.

The 19-year old, who is currently on international duty with Portugal’s U-21 squad has reportedly been scouted by Manchester United. This sort of attention is overwhelming for any player, let alone a youngster who is still waiting to play his first competitive match with the senior squad.

But Cavaleiro insists that he is focused on developing his game and eventually hopes to play first-team football with Benfica before moving on.

“My job is to earn an opportunity for the first team and this depends on the coach,” Cavaleiro told Portuguese radio station Antena 1. “There are very good forwards at Benfica and it is not easy to get into the first team.”

“For me it’s a huge honour to represent Benfica because it’s the club of my heart. I want to continue here and succeed in the first team.”

The young winger scored 12 goals in 38 matches for Benfica B last season, playing against professionals in Portugal’s second division. Standing at a modest 1,75m, Cavaleiro is most comfortable on the right side but has also seen action on the left and as a centre-forward.

He has also regularly played against players a few years older than him at the international level and done very well. Benfica’s senior side is currently loaded with more experienced wingers, making it difficult for Cavaleiro to take the next step in his career.

Cavaleiro’s former manager at Benfica B Norton de Matos believes that he already has the quality to play with the senior squad.

“Benfica have a strategy to support the growth of players like Ivan Cavaleiro. He has what it takes to get to the main squad. It would be an excellent reward for the great start to the season he is having,” Matos told Antena 1.

“If integrated with the players that Benfica currently have, and properly supported, Ivan has the quality to be a great success.”

WilliamCarvalho-27072013010

English newspaper The Daily Mirror is reporting that Manchester United are tracking the progress of Sporting Lisbon midfielder William Carvalho.

The English club have had a difficult start to the season and could strengthen their midfield by signing the promising 21-year old. According to unconfirmed sources, the club owners have agreed to give manager David Moyes £50 million to spend in January in order to improve results.

Carvalho’s current club, Sporting Lisbon have not commented on the report. He signed an extension with the club in the summer that expires in June of 2018. The contract includes a release clause of €45million.

Angolan-born Carvalho is a product of Sporting Lisbon’s distinguished academy which has also produced Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo. After graduating to the senior side in 2011, he completed loan spells at Fátima and Cercle Brugge in Belgium, before earning a starting position over the summer at Sporting.

Carvalho has played in defensive midfield so far this season. Cercle Brugge’s sporting director Ivan van Damme told Portuguese online publication A Bola in July that he is technically gifted and compared him to Manchester City’s Yaya Touré.

“He made great progress playing here [Cercle Brugge]. He is very strong, could play in every position in midfield, highly skilled and very capable physically. He has great quality and I know he will do well at Sporting,” van Damme said.

“He has qualities that are very similar to Yaya Touré, but has one key advantage. He is very young and will only continue to get better.”

Carvalho’s manager at the Belgian club Foeke Booy has said that he has the potential to evolve into an excellent ‘box-to-box’ midfielder.

“He is a powerful box-to-box midfielder, a player with enormous personality. I thought at Cercle, he was a player who was capable of great heights and it is only natural that he is doing the same thing at Sporting Lisbon,” Booy told Portuguese website O Jogo this Summer.

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SCOUTING REPORT: Sporting Lisbon’s Emerging Star Midfielder William Carvalho

Marítimo Goalkeeper José Sá Hopes To See Regular Action

Marítimo Goalkeeper José Sá Hopes To See Regular Action

This is the third and final article of a feature series exclusive to Futebol Factory that profiles the most promising Portuguese youngsters. Later this week, this website will be publishing an overview of all 21 players named in our series.

Here now are the last seven Portuguese young players that could have break out seasons this year.

José Sá, Maritimo, Goalkeeper

The 20-year old made a big name for him self this summer at the U20 World Cup. He certainly raised his profile in Maritimo’s opening match this season against Benfica, back stopping the Madeira-based club to a 2-1 win. The former Benfica youth player looks to have a bright future ahead of him.

With Maritimo’s former number one goalkeeper Romain Salin departing to Rio Ave, manager Pedro Martins has no proven goalkeeper. This could be his year to establish himself as a starting goalkeeper and perhaps an option for the Seleção.

Nuno Reis, Sporting Lisbon, Centre Back

A promising player whose future looks uncertain at the moment. Reis formed an excellent partnership at the centre of defence with Rio Ave’s Roderick Miranda at the 2011 U20 World Cup where Portugal finished second. He played with Olhanense last season.

The 22-year old does not appear to be part of Sporting manager Leonardo Jardim’s immediate plans. Currently playing with Sporting B squad in the second division, a loan deal seems likely.

Ricardo Ferreira, Olhanense, Centre Back

Born to Portuguese parents in Canada, Ricardo Ferreira is a former FC Porto youth player. In 2011, he was signed by Serie A giants AC Milan but never played a professional match for them. Last year, he was loaned to Serie B squad Empoli where he found playing time difficult to come by.

Ferreira was released this past summer by the Italian club and signed with Olhanense. He should find more playing time with Abel Xavier club, but unless the former Portuguese international proves to be a better manager than most people expect, the Algarve-club should be battling hard to stay in the top division.

Diogo Figueiras, Sevilla, Right-Back

The 22-year old was signed by La Liga club Sevilla this summer after an impressive season at Paços Ferreira. The club’s sporting director Monchi has praised his speed and technical ability, although it looks like he will have to play second-fiddle to Coke for now.

Figueiras lists former Sevilla right-back Dani Alves as a personal role model. He told journalists at his official unveiling in July, “Daniel Alves (Now with FC Barcelona) is an inspiration to me because he is the best full-back in the world. I am an ambitious player and I hope that I could one day reach his level. I am an offensive-minded full-back.”

Flávio Ferreira, Malaga, Centre Back/Defensive Midfielder

Signed by Malaga in the summer from Académica, where he primarily played at centre back last season. The 21-year old could also pay in defensive midfield. As of late August, Ferreira was battling a back injury that was to be evaluated from week to week.

With Malaga losing several quality players and their manager this summer, Ferreira could be given an opportunity to shine this year at the Estadio La Rosaleda. He should feel very welcome in Andalusia this season with Portuguese players Duda, Eliseu and Vitorino Antunes on the squad.

Ricardo Alves, Belenenses, Midfielder

Newly-promoted clubs are always likely to have exciting young talented. 20-year old Ricardo Alves played himself into Belenenses’ starting XI last season when promotion was all but assured. His performances were enough to earn him a spot of Portugal’s U20 World Cup squad where he played three matches.

This season in the top division, the suburban Lisbon club are still without a proven goal scorer and will likely rely on its creativity in midfield to win matches. Alves will be counted on to produce this season.

Tiago Silva, Belenenses, Midfielder

Another promising midfielder at Belenenses. Silva played regularly last season in the second division, scoring four goals in 31 matches for the club. Silva, along with Ricardo Alves could provide the basis for a strong Belenenses midfield this year.

The 20-year old is more attack-minded than Alves and will need to be good this season if Mitchell van der Gaag’s club is to prevent relegation. They got off to a poor start in match day one with a 3-0 defeat at home to Rio Ave.

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FEATURE: 7 Portuguese Young Players Who Could Break Out This Season, Part 1

FEATURE: 7 Portuguese Young Players Who Could Break Out This Season, Part 2

PORTUGAL: 7 Young Players That Could Help The Seleção Reach World Cup 2014

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Portuguese defender Daniel Carriço officially joined La Liga club Sevilla on Wednesday on a one-year loan deal. The deal includes the option to buy the 24-year old at the end of the season.

Carriço transferred to Premier League club Reading in January for a bargain basement price of €750,000 and made only three appearance before the club was relegated to the championship division. He confirmed more than a week ago that he will not be playing with the English club next season.

Carriço is known for his impressive physique and versatility. A natural centre back, he began playing defensive midfield in 2011 while at Sporting Lisbon.

Injuries would cost him his position in the starting line-up at the beginning of last season under manager Ricardo Sá Pinto. In January he moved to Reading.

He received 59 caps with Portugal’s junior international squads, including 16 with the U21 squads.

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TRANSFER WINDOW: Former Sporting Captain Daniel Carriço Moves to Premier League Club Reading