Monthly Archives: August 2015

Scout Report: Rúben Neves

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On the 15th of August 2014 a boy by the name of Rúben Neves graced the hallowed turf of the Estadio Dragão in front of a raucous home crowd of 50,000 Tripeiros.

Born in Mozelos to the north of Portugal on the 15th of March 1997, the diminutive midfield lynchpin had little to no notoriety outside the youth ranks, heeding Lopetegui’s call and taking the bull by the horns with an impressive 2014/15 pre-season. The youngster, at only 17 years and 155 days, had become the youngest player to appear and score in a league match for FC Porto; eclipsing the likes of Fernando Gomes and Paulo Futre, legends of the blue and white.

Gomes was only 17 years and nine months old when he bagged a brace on debut. Almost forty years later, midfield dynamo Rúben Neves had beaten the striker’s record by four months, opening the scoring after 11 minutes en route to securing a 2-0 victory against CS Maritimo.

Ruben-Neves debut

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Corona and Zúñiga on FC Porto’s radar

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It looks as if Pinto da Costa will once again reach into his tailored suit pocket for his cheque book, after recent reports linking both Jesús Corona and Camilo Zúñiga to the Estádio do Dragão.

Both players would bolster the winger and full-back positions, respectively, areas that having a dearth in terms of quality options, with Tello and Hernâni, as well as Cissokho, José Ángel and Ricardo Pereira, leaving a lot to be desired.

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Alex Sandro reportedly on his way to Juventus

Brazilian left-back Alex Sandro is poised to trade the blue and white of Futebol Clube de Porto for the white and black of Massimiliano Allegri’s Juventus after four years in the north of Portugal, making 86 appearances and scoring 5 goals in the process.

Reportedly rejecting offers from the likes of Manchester City and Real Madrid to move to Turin, reports in both Italy and Portugal suggest that the 24-year-old will move to La Vecchia Signora after another solid season at the Estádio do Dragão (click here for a compilation of Alex Sandro’s 2014/15 season).

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Primeira Liga Week 1: FC Porto dominate in convincing win over Vitória de Guimarães

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Photo: gettyimages (Carlos Rodrigues)

Futebol Clube do Porto kicked off their 2015/16 season in the best way possible on Saturday night, trouncing Minho giant Vitória de Guimarães 3-0 in front of a near-capacity crowd. A brace from Cameroonian young starlet Vincent Aboubakar would prove doubters wrong after a frustrating preseason in front of goal, as the name Jackson Martinez looks to become a distant memory.

FC Porto dominated most of the match against Armando Evangelista’s largely inoffensive Vitória, with Maxi Pereira and Giannelli Imbula enjoying fine debuts, producing sumptuous assists for the 2nd and 3rd goals. Silvestre Varela also impressed on his return to the Dragão, netting a fine effort to complete the rout.

Click here for match highlights

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Pinga: The Pearl of the Atlantic

Artur de Sousa, better known as Pinga, was born on the Island of Madeira on 30 July, 1909. Beginning his career at Club Sport Marítimo, the adept forward and inside-left midfielder extraordinaire would play at Os Verde-Rubros for three seasons, before crossing the Atlantic divide to ply his trade of Northern powerhouse Futebol Clube do Porto for over 16 years.

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Legend Player Profile:

Name: Artur de Sousa ‘Pinga’

Date of Birth: 30/07/1909 (Death on 12/07/1963)

Position: Forward, Left-Midfielder, Winger

International Caps: 21 (9 goals)

Career Span: 1929-1946

Clubs: Marítimo and FC Porto

Honours: Campeão da I Liga (1934/35), Nacional da I Divisão (1938/39 & 1939/40), Campeonato de Portugal (1931/32 & 1936/37), Top Goalscorer in Campeonato da I Liga (1935/36; 21 goals in 14 games)

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2015/16 Season Preview V: Final League Prediction

Hat trick of championships for Porto

Final league prediction

1st.

There is no reason that Futebol Clube do Porto will not finish first. On paper, they not only have the superior eleven, but also the strongest squad, and, in this writer’s opinion, one with greater depth and quality than last season.

Massive overhauls and changes in personnel, as well as the managerial go-around that is Portuguese football, has seen Benfica and Sporting, as well as Braga and Guimaraes, with a lot of work to do.

Porto are more settled, have recruited well with a superfluity of options in every position. Quality football and trophies will be at a premium this season.

2015/16 Season Preview IV: Tactical Preview and Starting Eleven

FC Porto coach Julen Lopetegui says his side must be at their best to reach the Champions League semifinals.

What has Lopetegui learnt from last season?

After a season that many argued was taken lightly by Julen Lopetegui, with Jorge Jesus’ Benfica coming out on top in both editions of O Classico; Porto barely made a whimper of contention when it counted in a title race that many expected them to take by the scruff of the neck.

Lopetegui has looked to emulate a game reminiscent of Barcelona’s Tiki Taka: a high possession, high pressure game. The latter is an area that has been carped by pundits and analysts, as Casemiro’s ineptitude as the sole midfield anchor and Herrera’s dearth defensively as the No. 8 were highlighted.

What we can expect this season

In this way, the side’s structure has been experimented with this preseason, specifically in the centre of the pitch. Investment in a host of names, whose defensive aptitude either as a No. 6 or ball carrying No. 8, in the form of André André, Sergio Oliveira, Danilo Pereira and Giannelli Imbula has seen Lopetegui experiment with a 4-2-3-1/4-2-1-3 against the likes of Valencia and Stoke City, amongst others.

By the same token, the likes of Brahimi and Tello, who are expected to start on the flanks, would be given greater freedom, as well both Hector Herrera and Alberto Bueno, with the latter pinned to play as Lopetegui’s No. 10 or centre-forward behind the striker.

This move towards a midfield base of two deeper lying midfielders would almost certainly include Imbula, who has mostly featured as No.8 in midfield with a tendency to play close to the No.6, although with Herrera back in the fold, could find himself at Porto’s definitive midfield lynchpin.

Nevertheless, a system with two more defensive-minded midfielders would likely be implemented against stronger opposition, both domestically and in Europe, as Lopetegui lacked a Plan B last season. His atypical 4-3-3 should feature predominately, although with a greater defensive base than last season.

Tripeiro Nation’s 2015/16 FC Porto Predicted Starting 11:

Tactics