Welcome to the first Leões/Lions awards! I’ll be handing out a couple of awards to Sporting players who I think deserve them. It may not be exactly the end of the season with the Taça de Portugal final still to come but I think I’ve seen enough to hand them out just that little bit early.
Goal of the Season: Marat Izmailov vs. Rio Ave (Link): Izmailov’s goal against Rio Ave is an excellent example of some of the magic that the Russian midfielder can produce. Izmailov beats to Rio Ave players before smashing a shot past the goalkeeper from 25 yards away. Superb goal. (Judging goals is usually based purely on taste, so if you think there’s anything I missed that should be a contender then feel free to share.)
Runners-Up: Matías Fernández vs. Manchester City (Link), André Santos vs. Legia Warszawa (Link), Fabián Rinaudo vs. Nacional (Link)
Worst Signing of the Season: Valeri Bojinov – That penalty incident, you know the one I mean against Moreirense in the Taça da Liga. Not only that Bojinov rarely looked too much like his former self and for such a talented player it’s clear the several injuries in his career have affected him. It was no surprise to see him go on loan to Lecce on January and he won’t be expected back – he’s even been an issue at Lecce too.
Runners-Up: Luis Aguiar (yes, he’s a Sporting player), Elias (average performances for a large transfer fee after a bright start)
Signing of the Season: Stijn Schaars – €850,000 was the transfer fee for AZ captain Stijn Schaars. In a world where fellow midfield man Elias cost more than 10x that it has been Schaars who had been the better of the two. Stijn has been central to a lot of the rhythm of Sporting’s play as well as being an important part in defensive work and set-pieces. Should Schaars play against Académica in the Taça de Portugal final it will be his 50th appearance for Sporting this season – a sure sign of his importance to the team.
Runners-Up: Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Emiliano Insúa
Young Player (U-23) of the Season: Ricky van Wolfswinkel – It’s hard to believe that Ricky van Wolfswinkel only just turned 23 back in January (meaning he was 22 at the start of the season and eligible for this award). €5,400,000 brought the Dutch striker from FC Utrecht to Sporting and van Wolfswinkel has managed impressively to fill the void that Liédson’s departure left us. With 24 goals in 45 appearances made all the more impressive by the fact he was frequently up front all on his own with some at times very little service to live on. Perhaps the most telling stat is that in the Primeira Liga this season Ricky van Wolfswinkel is the player to have scored the most winning goals that have produced victories for a season. His goals are frequent and frequently important.
Runners-Up: André Martins, André Carrillo
Player of the Season: Rui Patrício – There’s little that can be said about São Patrício besides… please never leave. Once again Patrício has been world class this season having saved Sporting’s skin on a gigantic amount of occasions. There’s growing speculation that this may finally be Portugal goalkeeper’s last season and should he leave he deserves to go for a massive price tag. He will be vital for any club he arrives at. Had it not been for Patrício then where would Sporting be?
Runners-Up: Stijn Schaars, Ricky van Wolfswinkel
Disagree with anything? Feel free to comment