Much like this blog, in the last few weeks Sporting have put their foot off the pedal after second place and an automatic Champions League group stage spot was secured. So, with the season now over, it’s time for the 3rd Annual Leões/Lions Awards.
It’s a complete turn around from last year in which it was difficult to give out any awards in what was a terrible season but under Bruno de Carvalho and Leonardo Jardim times are looking up again. So, without further ado…
Goal of the Season: Carlos Mané vs. Marítimo (Link) – Not a bad way to mark your first start for the senior side, huh? This is really the break out goal for Carlos Mané and seems to have helped cement his place in the first team. The technique is brilliant with goalkeeper Wellington Lima only able to admire the shot that hits just under the bar. Glorious.
Runners Up: Fredy Montero (3rd) vs. Arouca (Link), Adrien Silva vs. Paços de Ferreira (Link)
Bonus: Wilson Eduardo vs. Rio Ave (Link), Cédric Soares vs. Braga (Link), André Carrillo vs. Vitória de Setúbal (Link), Diego Capel vs. Marítimo (Link), Carlos Mané vs. Rio Ave (Link)
2013: Ricky van Wolfswinkel vs. Braga (Link)
2012: Marat Izmailov vs. Rio Ave (Link)
Worst Signing of the Season: Gérson Magrão – This is a difficult award to give out as there weren’t any real flops as there certainly were last season. The players who didn’t show enough quality were all players signed on loan – so no real money wasted either. What makes this especially difficult is that Leonardo Jardim stuck with his best XI wherever possible and so the likes of Gérson Magrão, Iván Piris and Vítor Silva got very little game time at all. Gérson Magrão started the very first game of the season and was substituted in the first half for André Martins – evidence of how little effect he had. Gérson didn’t seem to do much else besides make up the numbers in midfield and rarely showed any sort of creation. He’ll surely be off somewhere else next season.
Runner Up: Welder (Barely played, didn’t even play well for the B team), Iván Piris (Did OK, I guess)
2013: Khalid Boulahrouz
2012: Valeri Bojinov
Best Signing of the Season: Leonardo Jardim – No contest really. Leonardo Jardim has really turned this team around this year. He has said all the right things whenever possible and, should he stick with us, will certainly help take this team forward next season. Jardim also brought Carlos Mané through the B team to great effect and was starting to give more B team players a chance before the season ended. With just 3 league defeats this season as well some very unfortunate cup knock-outs Sporting managed to finish 6 points clear of Porto in 2nd place. Who would have predicted that at the start of the season? A fantastic turn around spearheaded by the manager.
Runners Up: Islam Slimani (Came from nowhere and turned into Super Sub and the man with the golden head), Jefferson (Goal threat as well as being a really solid full back), Fredy Montero (If only he played in 2014 like he did in 2013 but he could be great next season)
2013: Fabrice Fokobo
2012: Stijn Schaars
U23 Player of the Season: William Carvalho – An easy decision really. It’s hard to believe that William Carvalho only just turned 22 last month. He’s played like a midfielder in his prime with a decade of international experience and deserves all the awards he will be sweeping up this year. We’ll talk about him some more shortly…
Runners Up: Carlos Mané (Fantastic impact in 2014), André Carrillo (Still capable of brilliance), Eric Dier (Solid whenever he’s played in defence, not so in midfield)
2013: André Martins
2012: Ricky van Wolfswinkel
B-Team Player of the Season: Ricardo Esgaio – Surely next season he will make his break through to the first team. Ricardo Esgaio once again was the top scorer for the B team with 16 goals in 39 matches in the Segunda Liga. An incredibly versatile player who turning 21 in just a few days time will surely be a part of the first team plans for next season.
Runners Up: Iuri Medeiros (Fantastic talent but with a possible attitude problem), Wallyson Mallmann (Really improved in 2014 and has been on the fringes of the first team), Rúben Semedo (Should be pushing for the first team next season)
2013: Ricardo Esgaio
Player of the Season: William Carvalho – Obviously. Sir William Carvalho has made the Primeira Liga his all season from his very first commanding performance against Arouca and has been brilliant in almost every single game since. Excellent strength, ball control, positioning, timing, and rapidly improving his passing with every game. The only wonder now is whether he will stay for Champions League football next season or whether he will move onto to another club for big money.
Runners Up: Adrien Silva (Finally becoming the player he looked liked he would be. Deserves to be on the plane to Brazil), Cédric Soares (Well deserved first Portugal appearance, another huge improvement), Jefferson (Solid every single game)
2013: Rui Patrício
2012: Rui Patrício