There have been some serious late transfer news involving both the Portugal national team and of course the Liga ZON Sagres. I’m sure you all know by now that FC Porto sold Hulk to Zenit for something like $50 million, and the St. Petersburg club also cashed in on Belgian International and SL Benfica midfielder Axel Witsel also for around $50 million. This is a big blow to both teams as they compete with each other once again for the crown. I think honestly that Benfica will hurt the most from this deal because they also lost Javi Garcia earlier in the week to Manchester City, and these two young midfielders were rock solid in the middle of the park. They now could have to seriously rely on Carlos Martins and Matic as midfielders, and although they show flashes of strength, I feel they can be overrun if not domestically then surely in the Champion’s League. Witsel was a rising star, but I didn’t think Benfica would let him go so soon. I was expecting Gaitan or Aimar to leave first. As for Hulk it was a matter of time. Zenit were obviously one of the only clubs to meet Porto’s high transfer fee demands. I thought for sure he would want to move to England, Spain, or Italy, but Russia? I don’t think their league is very far ahead of the Potuguese League so it is a bit confusing. Porto have a bunch of talented wingers, but very little experienced. Atsu looks a little more promising than Iturbe right now but these are big boots to fill. Look for Varela to get a few starts to se if he can recover his form from a couple years ago. He was very lackadaisical on the ball last year and struggled to take defenders on, but his EURO 2012 campaign proved what game he has. I think Porto should be okay especially since they didn’t lose Moutinho or Rodriquez, but Braga are probably the biggest winner from both of these deals.
Other shocking transfer news is that Zenit also took a serious run at Nani, but his wage demands couldn’t be met. But more alarmingly is that apparently Manchester United agreed to sell him. This could spell a big problem for Nani’s place in the side, but I can’t believe Man U would sell him after just one bad start this year. He came on late as a substitute against Southampton and assisted on one goal and played a part in the other. Sometimes I don’t think Ferguson knows what he’s doing. Nani is way better than Young and is better all around than Valencia. I don’t know what will come of this, but I could see Nani leaving in January. One more transfer to mention is Meireles has moved from Chelsea to Turkish side Fenerbance. Another head scratching move for me. Raul wasn’t getting a lot of minutes, but why Turkey? Nothing has turned out good for our players when they move there and now at the end of his prime, I would think Meireles would want to go to Germany, Italy or even back to Portugal for that matter.
Now for the most important part of this post, the national team. Portugal are set to take on Luxembourg in Luxembourg, and appear to have a full strength squad after some injury worries. Ronaldo has returned to full training and Pepe has recovered from an ankle injury. There is however no Hugo Almeida (YES!!!!!), Carlos Martins, and Manuel Fernandes as they had to drop out due to injury. Pizzi, Eder, and Ruben Amorim got call ups instead. We should handle our business easily against Luxembourg, but it will take something smart to break them down as they will look to park the bus. The earlier we get a goal the better off we’ll be. I would watch to see who Bento selects to start at striker. Will he give Oliveira his first start in a competitive game or will he stick with Postiga. Other than up top we can expect to see the usual starting eleven. I predict a 3-0 vitory. FORCA PORTUGAL!!
More Portugal News
First weekend of the club season is in the books and all around the world our national team players took the field to represent their clubs. It was a mixed bag of performances.
Let’s start with the good shall we? Real Madrid vs Valencia battled to a 1-1 draw, and 5 Portugal NT players were representing. Coentrao made ... [read more]
Portugal kept their stride well after the European championships with a strong performance in a 2-0 win over Panama. It certainly wasn’t the strongest competitor, but Portugal were by far the better team and completely man handled the concacaf team. We did struggle early on to find our stride like we so often did over the summer, but ... [read more]
We lost to the Champions again and its safe to say we gave them their biggest fight they’ve had in a while in a major tournament. Sure we couldn’t muster much going forward, but we didn’t park the bus either and kept Spain from dominating the match. And of course with even just a little bit more luck ... [read more]
A tough and gritty performance all around has granted Portugal a semi final berth. Nothing came easy against the Czech Republic as they were happy to sit back and counter when they could. They were very organized at the back always seemingly in the right position to clear their line or block a shot. Our players stayed ... [read more]
We did it everyone. We have lived up to expectations and we are through to the quarter finals. Survived the group of death again and progressed with class. And most importantly of all we progressed as a complete TEAM. So much in the buildup to this tourney was ... [read more]
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WCB Team Member: Jennifer
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