Posts Tagged ‘Ricardo Costa’

Pepeenfada

Pepe, Real Madrid

Portugal’s stalwart at the centre of defence. This will be the fourth major tournament for Brazilian-born Pepe. A serious knee injury forced him to miss the first two matches of the last World Cup in South Africa. He returned to action ironically in a group stage match against Brazil which ended in a scoreless draw.

After a mediocre season last year, the 31-year-old bounced back with one of his best in 2013-14. He has been stellar for Portugal in big occasions, having been named to the Team of the Tournament for Euro 2008 and most recently, Euro 2012. He will line up along side Bruno Alves in Brazil.

This Season: Pepe was once again at the heart of Real Madrid’s success. He played in 30 La Liga matches this season, scoring four goals. The Portuguese international helped Real Madrid win La Décima this season as well, although he would miss the final due to injury.

Fun Fact: Pepe is a practicing Roman Catholic. He traveled to the shrine town of Fátima after Portugal’s semi-final defeat against Spain to ‘Give thanks to Our Lady.’

Bruno Alves, Fenerbahçe

A strong, tactically astute central defender, who is also very good in the air. Bruno Alves received his first international call-up in 2007 when he was with FC Porto. He currently has 70 caps for Portugal which places him third all-time among defenders behind only Ricardo Carvalho (75) and Fernando Couto (110).

The 32-year-old previously won four Primeira Liga titles with FC Porto before leaving for Zenit St. Petersburg in 2010. He was named the Primeira Liga’s Player of the Year in 2009. Alves spent this past season with Turkish club Fenerbahçe, alongside fellow Portuguese international Raul Meireles.

This Season: In his first season in Turkey, Bruno Alves played in 25 League matches for Fenerbahçe. The club was disqualified from European competition because of involvement in a match-fixing scandal. But the İstanbul-based club won the Turkish League title, finishing nine points ahead of rivals Galatasaray.

Fun Fact: Alves comes from a very proud football family. His father Washington, was a Brazilian footballer who played professionally in Portugal, mainly with Varzim Sport Clube. His older brother Geraldo has had a long, successful career and played this past season in Romania. Younger brother Júlio Alves is currently with Rio Ave.

Ricardo Costa, Valencia

Despite not always being first-choice at club level, Ricardo Costa has been consistently chosen to represent Portugal. Although his contribution has largely been limited to late-match substitute. The 33-year-old is currently sitting on 16 caps.

Costa began playing football with Boavista before signing with city rivals FC Porto in 1999. He would never receive regular first-team football at the club. He would leave to join VfL Wolfsburg in 2007. Costa would help them win the Bundesliga in 2008-09, before joining Valencia in 2010. He served as team captain this past season for the La Liga club.

This Season: Ricardo Costa battled through some injuries this season, but still managed to play 20 League matches for the club. Valencia had a very disappointing season for their standards. They finished eighth in the League table and will not play in Europe next season.

Fun Fact: Ricardo Costa will be one of only two Portuguese internationals to represent his country in three World Cups. This other is Cristiano Ronaldo.

Luís Neto, Zenit Saint Petersburg

The 26-year-old was selected to play in his first major tournament for Portugal. He received his first international call-up in October 2012 and currently has six caps. Luis Neto has been a very reliable defender in his short career with the Seleção.

Neto played for his hometown club Varzim before leaving to join Madeira-based Nacional in 2011. After a short stint with Serie A club Siena, Neto moved on to Russian side Zenit St. Petersburg.

This Season: Luis Neto had a rather poor first half of the season. However, after the arrival of André Villas-Boas as manager in March his fortunes began to improve as did the club’s results. He played in 25 League matches, which included 22 starts for the club. Zenit would finish second in the Russian Premier League, only one point behind CSKA Moscow.

Fun Fact: Luis Neto was named to Portugal’s under-21 squad for the 2009 Lusophony Games, winning a silver medal.

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Pepe Will Lead Portugal's Defence  Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Roger Gorączniak

Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Roger Gorączniak

Over the next few weeks Futebol Factory will be analyzing Portugal at each position. At centre back, Portugal boasts a very experienced group of players.

Pepe and Bruno Alves have carried the load for the Selecção for the last few years and are widely expected to do the same in Brazil.

Paulo Bento will bring four centre backs to the World Cup. Luis Neto and Ricardo Costa appear to be front-runners to grab the two back-up positions, but with more than half the season to go there is plenty of time for others to mount a challenge.

Tickets Booked: Bruno Alves (Fenerbahçe), Pepe (Real Madrid), Luis Neto (Zenit Saint Petersburg), Ricardo Costa (Valencia)

On The Bubble: Daniel Carriço (Sevilla FC), José Fonte (Southampton), Henrique Sereno (Kayserispor), Miguel Vítor (PAOK), Rolando (Inter Milan), Tiago Ilori (Liverpool)

Brazilian-born Pepe will lead the Portuguese back line in Brazil. The 30-year old missed the beginning of the last World Cup with a serious knee injury. One of Portugal’s best performers at Euro 2012, he famously traveled to the shrine-town of Fátima after the tournament to pray. After a poor 2012-12 season, he has been in good form so far this year.

Pepe will likely be partnered with Bruno Alves, who also has Brazilian heritage on his father’s side. The 31-year old is a tough tackler, a free-kick specialist, and is dominate in the air. He is currently playing with Fenerbahçe in Turkey with fellow Portuguese international Raul Meireles.

Manager Paulo Bento has been very consistent with his selections at centre-back. Valencia captain Ricardo Costa and Zenit’s Luis Neto have both performed admirably when called upon.

But that does not rule out the possibility of another player being selected for the squad. Injuries and a decline in form could open the door for someone else.

Rolando, who is on loan at Inter Milan from FC Porto, has received caps during Bento’s time as Portuguese manager. So has Kayserispor’s Henrique Sereno.

After that there are some intriguing players that could play themselves onto the squad. Southampton’s José Fonte has been in excellent form this season for the club and some feel that Bento has unfairly overlooked him.

Former Benfica player Miguel Vítor has also impressed with Greek club PAOK this season. Former Sporting Captain Daniel Carriço is finally healthy and if he manages to put together some consistent performances with Sevilla, Bento could be tempted to select him.

Liverpool youngster Tiago Ilori remains a possibility, but he would need to start playing regular football before he could be considered.

Related Posts:

FEATURE: 10 Portuguese Players Who Need To Improve Before The World Cup

The Goalkeepers: Who Will Represent Portugal At The World Cup In Brazil?

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

FEATURE: 5 Players That Could Help Portugal Beat Sweden And Reach Brazil 2014

TRANSFER WINDOW: Portuguese Defender Bruno Alves Officially Joins Fenerbahçe

PLAYER PROFILE: Former Benfica Defender Miguel Vitor Loving Life In Greece

TRANSFER WINDOW: Former Sporting Idol Daniel Carriço Moves To Sevilla On Loan

SCOUTING REPORT: Sporting Lisbon’s Central Defender Tiago Ilori

TRANSFER WINDOW: Portuguese Defender Rolando Loaned To Inter Milan

Helder-Postiga-Portugal_2676791

Portuguese international striker Hélder Postiga has completed a transfer to La Liga giants Valencia from Real Zaragoza.

The deal comes only days after Spanish striker Roberto Soldado moved to Tottenham Hotspurs. The Spanish club will rely on the 31 year old Portuguese to score goals this season.

Postiga scored 14 goals in 37 matches last year for Zaragoza but it was not enough for the club to avoid relegation. He joins fellow Portuguese international Ricardo Costa and Joao Pereira at Mestalla this coming season.

Valencia are reported to have paid €3 million for Postiga. Real Zaragoza will also retain 20 percent of the player’s rights. They are also entitled to another €375,000 if Postiga scores more than 15 goals this season.

Postiga is a product of FC Porto’s youth academy. He has spells with Tottenham Hotspurs, Sporting Lisbon and others prior to joining Real Zaragoza in 2011.

He is currently tied for sixth all-time in career goals for Portuguese national team with 26.

Related Posts:

MATCH REVIEW: Portugal Earn Crucial Victory Over Russia In World Cup Qualifying

Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Jan SOLO

Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Jan SOLO

Cristiano Ronaldo continued his recent strong form by scoring two goals in a decisive 5-0 defeat of the once mighty Valencia on Sunday. Fábio Coentrão started for Los Blancos as well.

Ricardo Costa played the full 90 minutes for Valencia, while Right-Back João Pereira did not play due to a red card suspension. With Barcelona’s defeat to Real Sociodad, Real Madrid still trail their archrivals by 15 points in La Liga. Valencia remain a disappointing 7th after 20 matches.

Domingos Paciência’s third game in charge of Deportivo La Coruña proved to be a difficult one. Facing Osasuna in Pamplona, the Galician club needed a win to help them leave the relegation zone.

But it was not to be. Deportivo went down 1-0 in the 26th minute after a goal by Sola. That was followed in the 61st minute when Nino scored to put the home side up. Deportivo’s Camuñas scored in injury time through a pass by Portugal international Pizzi for the consolation goal.

Pizzi, Zé Castro, Silvio, Bruno Gama and Andre Santos all started the game for the Spanish club. Nelson Oliveira game on for Santos in the 54th minute and missed two good chances late in the game.

Paciência admitted after the game that Oliveira has struggled to readjust after missing time with an injury.

“When things aren’t good and when you don’t play, confidence and effectiveness are often not what you would like. If you are not playing then you are not prepared to score goals,” Paciência said.

He added that he needs more from the team if they are to avoid relegation. “It’s not a good result, we came to win. The first half we played poorly,” he added. “We have to do better. We are responsible for this.”

Deportivo remain last in La Liga with only 16 points in 20 matches. However, they are only three points behind 17th place Celta de Vigo.

Elsewhere in Matchday 20, Simão Sabrosa and young Forward Rui Fonte started for Espanyol in an empressive 3-2 win against Mallorca. Simão opened the scoring in the 16th minute. Portuguese defender Jose Nunes started for Mallorca in the defeat.

Helder Postiga’s Real Zaragoza lost 2-0 to Real Valladolid. Sereno started and played the full match for Valladolid.

And Athletico Madrid beat Levante 2-0 to remain second in La Liga. Former international Tiago played the full match for the capital club.