Posts Tagged ‘Ricardo Quaresma’

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Portugal’s uncompromising style of play did not win them much admiration among neutral fans or the media but it was undoubtedly effective. Much credit should go to manager Fernando Santos who engineered a victory by utilizing the full strength of his squad. Football Factory rated each player on their performance over the entire tournament.

Goalkeepers

Rui Patricio He was not always busy but proved to be solid when called upon. He made a crucial stop in the penalty shootout against Poland. And he made several quality stops against France in the final. Named Best Goalkeeper at the tournament. Patricio is currently enjoying the best period of his career. 9

Eduardo Did not play.

Anthony Lopes Did not play.

 

Defenders

Raphael Guerreiro He was probably Portugal’s most consistent outfield player. The French-born Guerreiro provided the cross for Cristiano Ronaldo’s header against Wales. He was deservedly named to the team of the tournament. 8

Eliseu He filled in for Guerreiro against Hungary and Poland. The Benfica left-back looked much improved in his defensive duties, although he did not offer much in attack. 6

Pepe The Real Madrid man began the tournament with a poor display against Iceland and Hungary in the group stage. However, he was near flawless in the knockout stages.  A thigh injury kept him out of the semi-finals. But he returned in time to face France and put in a Man-of-the-Match performance for his country. Named to the Team of the Tournament. 8

Ricardo Carvalho The 38-year-old has been a solid contributor since returning to the international scene following Fernando Santos’ appointment. He looked slightly out of step especially in the 3-3 draw against Hungary. He was dropped in favour of Jose Fonte for the knockout stages. 6

Jose Fonte One of the great stories in this squad. The former Sporting CP academy graduate only made his international debut less than two years ago at the age of 30. He replaced Ricardo Carvalho against Croatia and was solid the rest of the way. 7

Bruno Alves He filled in admirably for the injured Pepe in the semi-final against Wales. 6

Cedric Soares Took over for Vieirinha against Croatia. His crucial mistake in the early stages against Poland led to the Robert Lewandowski goal. However, the Southampton right-back did not hang his head. Instead, he would be one of Portugal’s best performers the rest of the way. 7

Vieirinha The biggest disillusionment of this tournament for Portugal. He failed to provide sufficient cover on the Iceland goal in the first match. He was ineffective in attack and at times, a liability on defense. Santos rightly dropped him in favour of Cedric. 5

 

Midfielders

William Carvalho The holding midfielder replaced Danilo against Austria and put in an outstanding performance helping to drive the attack while supporting the Portuguese backline. Although he made less of an impact from then on, he still provided the stability the team needed. 7

Danilo Pereira The FC Porto midfielder suffered a back injury in the match against Iceland and lost his position in the starting XI to William.  Although, he would make a valuable contribution as a substitute. He filled in for the Sporting midfielder as a starter in the semi-final against Wales and even came close to scoring on one occasion. 6

Renato Sanches Named Best Young Player in the tournament. His long run in extra time against Croatia led to Quaresma’s goal. He scored the tying goal against Poland. Although, he was less of a factor against Wales and in the final. Still, he only added to his burgeoning reputation. It will be almost impossible to top the year he has had. 7

Andre Gomes He earned a starting spot against Iceland and put in an excellent display, creating the goal scored by Nani. But, his injury against Croatia would greatly limit him. He made a positive substitute appearance against Wales but did not appear in the final. 6

Adrien Silva The Sporting captain made his debut in the tournament against Croatia. He earned Fernando Santos’ confidence with some impressive performances on the way to the final. Unselfish, hardworking and tough, he embodies Portugal’s championship-winning side more than anyone. 7

João Moutinho A starter at the beginning of the tournament, the Monaco midfielder was not at his best in the group stage. He was forced to withdraw at half-time against Hungary due to an injury. However, he came in as a late substitute against Poland and provided a dangerous through-ball to Ronaldo, who could not capitalize. He made a major impact as a substitute in the final, helping to create the winning goal. 7

João Mário Much was expected of the Sporting midfielder at the beginning of the tournament. He was noticeably quiet against Iceland and was dropped in favour of Quaresma in the second match. Back as a starter against Hungary he provided an assist on Cristiano Ronaldo’s back-heel goal. His decision-making left much to be desired at times in the knockout stages but he was much better in the final. 7

 

Forwards

Cristiano Ronaldo The Portuguese captain was not always at his best in this tournament. He was a frustrated figure against Iceland and Austria but silenced his critics with a brace against Hungary. He was decisive again in the semi-final against Wales. His tournament seemed destined to end once again in tears when he was forced to withdraw in the final because of a knee injury. But, his teammates rallied around his absence and handed him that elusive championship at international level.  8

Nani The 29-year-old rebuilt his damaged reputation. He finished tied with the team-lead in goals with three and added an assist on Sanches’ goal against Poland. He did all that while playing out of position. His move to Spanish club Valencia was finalized during the tournament.  8

Ricardo Quaresma At 32, the journeyman winger looks to have finally come into his own on the international scene. He was generally ineffective in his only start of the tournament against Austria. However, he proved to be a valuable option off the bench, scoring a late goal against Croatia and then putting away the winning penalty in the shoot-out against Poland. 7

Rafa Silva He was originally expected to play a more prominent role. However, the Braga winger was limited to a short cameo in the late stages of the draw against Austria. He looked dangerous but was not able to break the deadlock. He is one for the future.  Incomplete

Éder Just weeks ago at pre-tournament friendlies the striker was whistled at by Portuguese fans every time he touched the ball. He made short substitute appearances against Iceland and Austria before the final. In a tournament of ample drama and great storylines for Portugal, it seems almost fitting that ‘the ugly duckling’ would score the most famous goal in the country’s history. 7

 

Manager

Fernando Santos He will never earn style points from the mainstream media but the 61-year-old found a way to win. By preaching unity and sacrifice above all, Santos got the most out of his players. He seemed to know how to make changes at the right time. Bringing on Sanches early in the second-half against Croatia and Éder in the final, seemed insane at the time but paid off enormously. 10

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Julen Lopetegui FC Porto

Overview: The Dragões invested heavily this summer in order to boost their chances of reclaiming the title from Benfica.

Manager Julen Lopetegui did just enough last season to earn another chance, however, the pressure is only mounting. FC Porto lost Jackson Martinez, Casemiro, Danilo, Ricardo Quaresma and Óliver Torres this summer, which will all be missed.

To compensate, they added Maxi Pereira, Iker Casillas, Danilo Pereira, Giannelli Imbula, André André, Sérgio Oliveira, Alberto Bueno and Dani Osvaldo. In addition, Silvestre Varela has returned from a loan spell, and Rúben Neves is healthy again. Add in Yacine Brahimi, Vincent Aboubakar, Cristian Tello and Héctor Herrera, and it looks like FC Porto have a deeper squad than last season.

For Lopetegui, the question has always been whether he has the ability to win titles. The club has not won any trophies the last two season except for the Portuguese Super Cup in 2013 which is unacceptable for a club that has had so much domestic success over the last two decades.

Key Additions: Dani Osvaldo, Aly Cissokho (Aston Villa), Maxi Pereira (Benfica), Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Giannelli Imbula (Marseille), Silvestre Varela (Parma), Danilo Pereira (Maritimo), André André (V. Guimarães), Sérgio Oliveira (Paços Ferreira), Alberto Bueno (Rayo Vallecano)

Key Subtractions: Tiago Rodrigues (Marítimo), Andrés Fernández (Granada), Ricardo Quaresma (Besiktas), Diego Reyes (Real Sociedad), Carlos Eduardo (Al Hilal), Fabiano (Fenerbahçe), Óliver Torres (Atlético Madrid) , Jackson Martínez (Atlético Madrid), José Campaña (Alcorcón), Casemiro (Real Madrid), Danilo (Real Madrid)

Manager Profile: Spaniard Julen Lopetegui is going into his second season with Porto. He led the club to a second-place finish in the league last season and will be expected to go one higher. He previously won U19 and U21 European titles with Spain.

Players To Watch: It is very difficult to choose just one player in a star-studded line-up. Alberto Bueno is expected to replace Jackson Martínez’s output. And Portugal U21 midfielder Rúben Neves has talent in abundance and should get an opportunity to play more this season.

Expectations: FC Porto is always expected to win the Portuguese league. A third year without winning the league could mean major changes for the club. A long run in Europe would be welcomed as well, so long as it does not hurt their domestic form.

Photo: FC Porto

Photo: FC Porto

Overview: The Julen Lopetegui era has officially begun at the Estádio do Dragão. He takes over a club that has become used to success.

Porto have lost several key players from the squad that finished a disappointing third last season. Defensive midfielder Fernando, who was the club’s spine for several seasons has finally moved on, joining Manchester City. French international Eliaquim Mangala is likely to follow him to Etihad Stadium.

Lopetegui was not well known when team president Pinto da Costa announced his hiring at the end of last season. The Spaniard has spent most of his coaching career in youth development. He has already started to leave a footprint on this squad.

There will be a hint of Spanish flavour at the Dragão this season. Óliver Torres, Ádrian Lopez and Cristian Tello were all reinforcements for the club this summer. However, Torres and Tello arrive on loan from their respective clubs. As does Brazilian defensive midfielder Casemiro.

Porto begins their Primeira Liga season at home on August 15th against Marítimo. The club has not gone more than one season without winning the league since 2001-02.

Key Additions: Ricardo (Académica), Evandro (Estoril), Sami (Marítimo), Daniel Opare (Standard Liège), Óliver Torres (At. Madrid), Lichnovsky (Univ. Chile), Ádrian Lopez (At. Madrid), Bruno Martins Indi (Feyenoord), Tello (Barcelona), Tiago Rodrigues (V. Guimarães), Djalma (Konyaspor), Casemiro (Real Madrid), Yacine Brahimi (Granada), Andrés Fernández (Osasuna), José Ángel (Roma)

Key Subtractions: Fucile, Iturbe (Verona), Fernando (Manchester City), Castro (Kasimpasa), Izmailov (Krasnodar), Eliaquim Mangala (Manchester City), Rolando, Abdoulaye (Rayo Vallecano), Licá (Rayo Vallecano), Nabil Ghilas, Josué, Bolat (Galatasaray), Silvestre Varela, Pedro Moreira (Rio Ave), Tozé (Estoril)

Manager Profile: Julen Lopetegui had a short coaching stint with his former club Rayo Vallecano in 2003, soon after retiring as a player. Since then, he has managed Real Madrid Castilla for one season, and spent several years in charge of Spain’s youth squads. He won the UEFA European Under-19 Championship in 2012, as well as the UEFA European Under-21 Championship in 2013.

Players To Watch: Winger Ricardo Quaresma and striker Jackson Martinez will be leaned on heavily to produce for the club. New signings Bruno Martins Indi, Cristian Tello, Óliver Torres and Ádrian Lopez will be essential to the club’s plans this season. Héctor Herrera had an excellent World Cup with Mexico and is expected to play a bigger role as well.

Expectations: FC Porto are always expected to win the league, and in fact, do so on most occasions. The team was eliminated in the group stage of the Champions League. Lopetegui will be under major pressure to reach the knock-out stages this time around.

Photo: SL Benfica/Isabel Cutileiro

Photo: SL Benfica/Isabel Cutileiro

There was once again no shortage of intriguing headlines in Portugal this season. For the first time in several years, the League title was a three-horse race for most of the season producing plenty of drama along the way.

Benfica came out on top in the end, winning their 33th Portuguese title. While city rivals Sporting Lisbon firmly re-established themselves as serious contenders after years of financial mismanagement and poor performances.

However, this season was not without its disappointments. FC Porto and Benfica both failed to emerge from the group stage of the Champions League. And Benfica’s inability to win a European competition continued when they lost to Sevilla in the Europa League final.

But despite their modest resources, Portuguese clubs continue to produce elite talent at a level not seen in any other European League of its size. The emergence of William Carvalho, and other young players further added to the perception that Portuguese football is as healthy as ever.

Here now are the top eight storylines from Portugal this season.

Benfica Overcome The Memory Of Last Season’s Collapse

The memory of Benfica’s 2012-13 season is one that Benfica supporters will work hard to forget. The club rebounded in the best possible way by having one of their best seasons in recent memory. Although the loss to Sevilla in the Europa League final was difficult to accept for some fans.

After a relatively poor start to the season, Jorge Jesus’ club were almost perfect from November onwards. The club also appears to have some excellent young players in Lazar Marković, Ivan Cavaleiro and Jan Oblak that could keep the team competitive for years to come.

Revival At Sporting Lisbon

Despite once again falling short of the League title, Sporting Lisbon appears to have put financial ruin and poor performances behind them for good. Os Leões have regained the respect of their fans after some tumultuous years and optimism is high.

How did they do it? By going back to what made the club great in the first place. Not able to spend big like Benfica and FC Porto, manager Leonardo Jardim embraced the club’s famous academy and the results improved. The club went from having three managers last season, to a runner-up position this season. And they are looking forward to Champions League football in 2014-15.

FC Porto Struggles

On a negative note, FC Porto had one of their worst seasons in the Pinto da Costa era. A new manager, too many new players, dysfunction and a lack of squad depth all played a part in a third place finish for the Dragões.

It was unfamiliar territory for the club. Consistency and success is what we have come to expect from Porto over the last two decades. But it would be foolish to assume that Porto’s position as Portugal’s dominate club is coming to an end. The last time they failed to win the Portuguese League in 2009-10, Porto bounced back with a treble winning season.

Marco Silva’s Estoril

The most pleasant surprise this season was Estoril Praia who finished in fourth position. The suburban Lisbon club returned to top flight only two years ago. They managed to match the best finish in their history this season.

Much of the praise must go to their young manager Marco Silva who clearly has a good eye for talent. The club lost several good players last season after finishing a better than expected fifth. This season Gonçalo Santos, Sebá, Evandro and others established themselves as quality players.

Champions League Failures

In fairness, both Benfica and Porto were drawn in to two very difficult groups for this season’s Champions League. However, in past seasons both clubs would find a way to advance to the round of 16. This year, they started poorly and were unable to recover.

Benfica finished tied with Greek club Olympiacos in points with 10, a total that would get most clubs into the round of 16. However, Benfica was unable to beat Olympiacos over two encounters. Porto managed only one win and four goals in six matches.

The Curse of Béla Guttmann Continues

After leading Benfica to their second European Cup victory in 1962, Hungarian manager Béla Guttmann asked for a pay raise and was denied. After resigning, he famously declared ‘Not in a hundred years from now will Benfica ever be European champion.’ The club has lost eight consecutive European finals since.

The latest came in the final of the Europa League against La Liga club Sevilla. Benfica came into the match as slight favourites but were missing a few key players due to suspensions. Despite getting the majority of chances, Benfica were unable to score and eventually lost to Sevilla on penalties.

Portugal’s Emerging Generation

It is no secret that the Primeira Liga is a breeding ground for many promising youngsters looking to develop their talent. But it was an exceptionally good year for emerging home grown talent. The accolades and praise for Sporting Lisbon midfielder William Carvalho are too numerous to name here.

However, Vitória Setúbal winger Ricardo Horta, Vitória Guimarães defender Paulo Oliveira, Nacional defender Miguel Rodrigues and Braga midfielder Rafa Silva are just some of the best revelations from this past season. Not to mention on-loan striker Bebé who scored an impressive 11 goals for Paços de Ferreira.

Ricardo Quaresma’s Return

Ricardo Quaresma is probably the most polarizing player Portugal has produced in a long while, if ever. He inspires delight and dislike in equal measure. But there is no doubt that his return to FC Porto in January was good for the competition.

The winger dazzled fans with his exceptional skill, once again inspiring many to wonder what could have been. Quaresma was particularly impressive in the Europa League matches against Napoli. He was unable to turn the tide for FC Porto as the Dragões finished a disappointing third. However, he did provide spectacle and thrills along the way.

Related Posts:

FEATURE: 5 Reasons Benfica Won The Portuguese League Title This Season

PLAYER PROFILE: Is Manchester United ‘Flop’ Bebé The Real Deal Afterall?

Scout Report – William Carvalho

Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Fanny Schertzer

Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Fanny Schertzer

Portuguese sports website Maisfutebol is reporting that Ricardo Quaresma will sign a two and a half-year deal with FC Porto. The contract could be finalized as early as this week.

The Portuguese winger rescinded his contract with Dubai-based club Al Ahli and is expected to return to the club where he had the best moments of his career. Quaresma would arrive as a free agent which means the club will not pay a transfer fee.

Maisfutebol is reporting that the 30-year-old was in Porto last week and has now settled into a house north of the city. Porto manager Paulo Fonseca is currently planning to integrate Quaresma into training, according to the same reports.

Supremely talented, but with a volatile personality, Ricardo Quaresma never really fulfilled the potential many people had of him when he burst onto the scene.

He is best known for his exceptional ability, in particular the famous ‘trivela,’ which consists of striking the ball with the outside of the foot with great voracity. Goalkeepers were unable to read which direction the ball would be going until it was often too late.

A product of Sporting Lisbon’s famed academy, Ricardo Quaresma dazzled fans in his early days with the club. In 2003, he received his first call-up to the Portuguese national team. His performances earned him a transfer to FC Barcelona that same year.

At this time, most people considered him a better prospect than even Cristiano Ronaldo, who is two years younger. Ronaldo would move to Manchester United in 2003 and the rest as they say is history.

At Barcelona, Quaresma did not have a particularly great season, and fell-out with then manager Frank Rijkaard. A sign of things to come. Refusing to play for the club any longer, Quaresma moved to FC Porto.

Between 2004-08, Quaresma enjoyed the best years of his career. He won three league titles with the club and was named the best player in the league in 2006.

In 2008 he moved to Serie A club Inter Milan, who were then coached by José Mourinho. He saw very little game action over his two years at the Italian club. Quaresma’s attitude is said to have been a problem. He played no role in Inter’s 2009-10 Champions League win.

Quaresma was released ahead of the 2010-11 season. He signed with Turkish club Beşiktaş where he put together some good performances the next two seasons. He was re-called to the Portuguese national team and was even selected for Euro 2012.

But his personality would once again be a problem. At Beşiktaş he clashed with Portuguese manager Carlos Carvalhal and eventually the club released him. He signed with Al Ahli in January 2013.