Leões/Lions Awards 2017

As always, another year where I don’t actually post anything but I do do this.

It’s been a difficult year for Sporting with a season that ended too early and a transfer policy that reeked of prime Godinho Lopes. However, the were some bright spots and some reason for optimism for next year.

Goal of the Season: Gelson Martins vs. Paços de Ferreira (Link) – After collecting a lovely through ball, Gelson Martins flicks the ball over toe goalkeeper before slotting into an empty net. It was this kind of creative play that made Gelson one of the bright spots on the season.
Runners Up: 2. Bruno César vs. Vitória de Setúbal (Link), Alan Ruiz vs. Porto (Link)
Bonus: Gelson Martins vs. Porto (Link), Bas Dost vs. Boavista (Link), Elias vs. Vitória de Guimarães (Link), Bas Dost vs. Estoril (Link)
2016: João Mário vs. Vitória de Setúbal (Link)
2015: Nani vs. Gil Vicente (Link)
2014: Carlos Mané vs. Marítimo (Link)
2013: Ricky van Wolfswinkel vs. Braga (Link)
2012: Marat Izmailov vs. Rio Ave (Link)

Worst Signing of the Season: Luc Castaignos – It’s been a difficult choice to pick just one player out to be the worst. You have Elias, Lazar Markovic, Marcelo Meli, André, Joel Campbell and Radosav Petrović. There can be a case made for each of those players. However, Luc Castaignos is the only one of those players who made it past January, and I can only assume that is because no other club wanted to take him of our hands. The once promising Dutch forward had an excellent chance to reignite his career in Portugal but could barely even get into a scoring position when given the chance. On the rare times he did get into a good position for a chance it inevitably went high and wide. A total dud.
Runners Up: 2. Lazar Markovic (Possibly an undercover agent), 3. Elias (It was worth a try)
2016: 1. Hernán Barcos, 2. Michaël Ciani, 3. Bruno Paulista
2015: 1. Simeon Slavchev, 2. Naby Sarr, 3. Ramy Rabia
2014: 1. Gérson Magrão, 2. Welder, 3. Iván Piris
2013: 1. Khalid Boulahrouz, 2. Danijel Pranjic, 3. Gelson Fernandes
2012: 1. Valeri Bojinov, 2. Luis Aguiar, 3. Elias

Best Signing of the Season: Bas Dost – It was always going to be tough to fill in for the departing Islam Slimani. Bas Dost came in form an average season in Germany with Wolfsburg but was quick to settle in to life in Portugal. Under Jorge Jesus his link up play has improved greatly as the season progressed. His aerial presence and strikers instinct are what was helped him racked up the goals all season long. Currently, he’s looking even better after forming an exciting and mildly amusing Arnie / DeVito tribute act. If he can replicate this form next season it will be something.
Runners Up: 2. Beto (A superb backup to Rui Patrício), 2. Gelson Dala (A very exciting prospect)
2016: 1. Jorge Jesus, 2. Bryan Ruiz, 3. Bruno César
2015: 1. Paulo Oliveira, 2. Nani, 3. Ewerton
2014: 1. Leonardo Jardim, 2. Islam Slimani, 3. Jefferson
2013: 1. Fabrice Fokobo, 2. Marcos Rojo, 3. Zakaria Labyad
2012: 1. Stijn Schaars, 2. Ricky van Wolfswinkel, 3. Emiliano Insúa

Next is a new award I have just made up. This season whilst some trash signings were taking up spaces there were improvements waiting for game time.

Most Under-utilised Player: Paulo Oliveira – Although Sebastián Coates was solid all season, Rúben Semedo was hot and cold. When he was good, he was excellent however when he was poor he was a massive liability. Paulo Oliveira however has always been an assured player and perhaps suffers from his relative lack of size and strength in comparison to Semedo, something Jorge Jesus seems to value in his centre-backs. He’s an intelligent defender and it would be a shame for him to leave in summer whilst pursing game time, especially after the signing of André Pinto from Braga.
Runners Up: 2. Ricardo Esgaio (Out of position at left back, he was still better than Jefferson and Marvin), 3. Matheus Pereira (When he played he was better than all our other wingers except Gelson)
Bonus Answer: Ryan Gauld

U23 Player of the Season: Gelson Martins – When times have been tough this season there has always been something to admire in watching Gelson Martins play. His game is natural which can mean he occasionally does something that looks stupid, however, it also means he can do outrageous pieces of skill and become our most powerful creative force. Hopefully Gelson (rumoured with every big club) sticks around for at least one more season to really develop further as a player.
Runners Up: 2. Daniel Podence, 3. Matheus Pereira
2016: 1. João Mário, 2. Gelson Martins, 3. Carlos Mané
2015: 1. Paulo Oliveira, 2. João Mário, 3. Carlos Mané
2014: 1. William Carvalho, 2. Carlos Mané, 3. André Carrillo
2013: 1. André Martins, 2. Eric Dier, 3. Tiago Ilori
2012: 1. Ricky van Wolfswinkel, 2. André Martins, 3. André Carrillo

B Team Player of the Season: Gelson Dala – Yes, he only arrived in January but when he came Sporting B were struggling in a relegation scrap and it looked like perhaps the first team would all have to chip in to prevent a disaster. However, with the arrival of Gelson Dala there seemed to be a player who was a level ahead of everyone else. It was no surprise he was pushing for the first team by the end of the season after his fantastic goal scoring record and eye-catching performances.
Runners Up: 2. Leonardo Ruiz, 3. Ivanildo Fernandes
2016: 1. Daniel Podence, 2. Francisco Geraldes, 3. Matheus Pereira
2015: 1. Wallyson Mallmann, 2. Gelson Martins, 3. Ryan Gauld
2014: 1. Ricardo Esgaio, 2. Iuri Medeiros, 3. Wallyson Mallmann
2013: 1. Ricardo Esgaio, 2. Eric Dier, 3. Bruma

Player of the Season: Bas Dost – As stated above, what a signing Bas Dost has been. He was even chasing Lionel Messi for the Golden Boot, no mean feat.
Runners Up: 2. Gelson Martins (Excellent creative output), 3. Sebastián Coates (Solid all season long)
2016: 1. Islam Slimani, 2. Adrien Silva, 3. João Mário
2015: 1. André Carrillo, 2. Nani, 3. Adrien Silva
2014: 1. William Carvalho, 2. Adrien Silva, 3. Cédric Soares
2013: 1. Rui Patrício, 2. Diego Capel, 3. Fabián Rinaudo
2012: 1. Rui Patrício, 2. Stijn Schaars, 3. Ricky van Wolfswinkel

Leões/Lions Awards 2016

I may always forget to update this but I never forget the year end awards! It’s been a unique season. We’ve played some of the best football in Europe but just missed out on glory. So, here’s some meaningless opinions:

img_770x4332016_01_07_14_48_36_1047776Goal of the Season: João Mário vs. Vitória de Setúbal (Link) – This goal sums up João Mário’s breakout season. He glides around the pitch and then rockets an unstoppable shot into the net. Of course, being such a classy player, he doesn’t celebrate against the club he had a loan spell with. Beautiful.
Runners Up: 2. Adrien Silva vs. Académica (Link) 3. Islam Slimani vs. Estoril (Link)
Bonus: Bryan Ruiz vs. Vitória de Setúbal (Link), Islam Slimani vs. Académica (Link), Adrien Silva vs. Belenenses (Link)
2015: Nani vs. Gil Vicente (Link)
2014: Carlos Mané vs. Marítimo (Link)
2013: Ricky van Wolfswinkel vs. Braga (Link)
2012: Marat Izmailov vs. Rio Ave (Link)

Worst Signing of the Season: Hernán Barcos – This was a tricky award to give out, thankfully. Barcos, however, was a strange singing. He arrived in part exchange for Fredy Montero in another example of football’s exodus to China. Yet, the timing was off. Montero had just won us 3 points on his own in the previous game against Académica and, had we kept the Colombian, he could have made the difference later on in the season. Barcos failed to really stand out on any of his subsequent appearances.
Runners Up: 2. Michaël Ciani, 3. Bruno Paulista (purely due to his injuries)
2015: 1. Simeon Slavchev, 2. Naby Sarr, 3. Ramy Rabia
2014: 1. Gérson Magrão, 2. Welder, 3. Iván Piris
2013: 1. Khalid Boulahrouz, 2. Danijel Pranjic, 3. Gelson Fernandes
2012: 1. Valeri Bojinov, 2. Luis Aguiar, 3. Elias

2263041_w2Best Signing of the Season: Jorge Jesus – Talk about a coup. None of us what would have though last year that Jorge Jesus would be our manager. Bruno de Carvalho pulled off a wonder in bringing him to the Alvalade. The quality of football has been brilliant since he signed and what’s more impressive as this was done in a season where half way through we changed our entire defence. The only blot is the lack of a major trophy but regardless it was the best Sporting team in some time. We only hope he sticks around to win the league for us next season.
Runners Up: 2. Bryan Ruiz, 3. Bruno César
2015: 1. Paulo Oliveira, 2. Nani, 3. Ewerton
2014: 1. Leonardo Jardim, 2. Islam Slimani, 3. Jefferson
2013: 1. Fabrice Fokobo, 2. Marcos Rojo, 3. Zakaria Labyad
2012: 1. Stijn Schaars, 2. Ricky van Wolfswinkel, 3. Emiliano Insúa

U23 Player of the Season: João Mário – Starting the season at 22, the now 23 year old has been one of the best footballers in the country this season. With a new position under Jesus as a creative wide midfielder he has managed to be an important key to unlocking defences. He is was one of the classiest players to grave the Alvalade.
Runners Up: 2. Gelson Martins, 3. Rúben Semedo
2015: 1. Paulo Oliveira, 2. João Mário, 3. Carlos Mané
2014: 1. William Carvalho, 2. Carlos Mané, 3. André Carrillo
2013: 1. André Martins, 2. Eric Dier, 3. Tiago Ilori
2012: 1. Ricky van Wolfswinkel, 2. André Martins, 3. André Carrillo

B Team Player of the Season: Daniel Podence – This would have been Matheus Pereira’s award but althougth Brazilian was outstanding for the B team, his first team commitments limited his playing time. Instead, Daniel Podence is deserving of the award. Despite his stature, he’s starting to excel as a creative and tricky winger with goals to his name. A season long loan at a Primeira Liga club, similar to what Iuri Medeiros just had, would be great way to continue his development.
Runners Up: 2. Francisco Geraldes, 3. Matheus Pereira
2015: 1. Wallyson Mallmann, 2. Gelson Martins, 3. Ryan Gauld
2014: 1. Ricardo Esgaio, 2. Iuri Medeiros, 3. Wallyson Mallmann
2013: 1. Ricardo Esgaio, 2. Eric Dier, 3. Bruma

01_13181623_6b1cae_2639989aPlayer of the Season: Islam Slimani – The stats speak for themselves with Islam Slimani. The Algerian has been on fire with 31 goals in all competitions this season that has made it impossible for defences to deal with his aerial ability and predatory instincts. His goals against Porto and Benfica showed what a big game player he is as well. Slimani is an admirer of Jorge Jesus so hopefully he may stick around next season.
Runners Up: 2. Adrien Silva, 3. João Mário
2015: 1. André Carrillo, 2. Nani, 3. Adrien Silva
2014: 1. William Carvalho, 2. Adrien Silva, 3. Cédric Soares
2013: 1. Rui Patrício, 2. Diego Capel, 3. Fabián Rinaudo
2012: 1. Rui Patrício, 2. Stijn Schaars, 3. Ricky van Wolfswinkel

Leões/Lions Awards 2015

We’re back, after many months of not posting to deliver a belated end of season awards post. I can’t even get into Jorge Jesus, Cédric Soares or any possible future transfers just yet, but hey, here we go.

Goal of the Season: Nani vs. Gil Vicente (Link) – It was good enough to bring Nani to tears after scoring it, an absolutely brilliant half-volley. The set up was easy enough, a simple throw-in from Miguel Lopes, but Nani’s header set up and the winger waited for the perfect moment to unleash an unstoppable shot. Wonderful.
Runners-up: Nani vs. Schalke (Link), Junya Tanaka vs. Braga (Link), Fredy Montero vs. Marítimo (Link), Adrien Silva vs. Braga (Link), Adrien Silva vs. Estoril (Link)
Bonus: Nani vs. Maribor (Link), Islam Slimani vs. Penafiel (Link), Fredy Montero vs. Paços de Ferreira (Link), Adrien Silva vs. Gil Vicente (Link), Nani vs. Gil Vicente (Link), Fredy Montero vs. Vitória de Setúbal (Link)
Hilarity Bonus: Islam Slimani vs. Benfica (Link)
2014: Carlos Mané vs. Marítimo (Link)
2013: Ricky van Wolfswinkel vs. Braga (Link)
2012: Marat Izmailov vs. Rio Ave (Link)

Worst Signing of the Season: I’m not sure why I created this award, probably because a few years ago there were so many terrible signings that it was difficult to pick just one. This time I will go with Simeon Slavchev, despite the €2,500,000 price tag the Bulgarian seemed unable to settle in Portugal, not looking close to breaking in the first team. He had plenty of competition of course, but looked one dimensional when he was called up and was sent on loan to Bolton Wanderers. May well improve next season.
Runners-up: Naby Sarr (a few blunders but still developing), Ramy Rabia (ditto)
2014: Gérson Magrão
2013: Khalid Boulahrouz
2012: Valeri Bojinov

Best Signing of the Season: Paulo Oliveira – It seems Sporting finally got the defender we deserve. The classy centre-back initially couldn’t get into Marco Silva’s team ahead of Naby Sarr and Maurício for some unknown reason. However, he soon cemented his spot in the team and created solid partnerships with Tobias Figueiredo and later Ewerton. At just 23-years old the transfer marks a solid investment for the future.
Runners-up: Nani (no wages? Brilliant!), Ewerton (another loan deal, fit in perfectly)
2014: Leonardo Jardim
2013: Fabrice Fokobo
2012: Stijn Schaars

U23 Player of the Season: Paulo Oliveira – As stated above, Paulo Oliveira is a classy addition in the squad. Set to have a great future for Sporting and Portugal.
Runners-up: João Mário, Carlos Mané
2014: William Carvalho
2013: André Martins
2012: Ricky van Wolfswinkel

B-Team Player of the Season: Wallyson Mallmann – The combative Brazilian midfielder’s breakout year. Ever present in the B team as well as featuring at the fringe of the first team. Wallyson will hope to try and break into the first team next season.
Runners-up: Gelson Martins, Ryan Gauld
2014: Ricardo Esgaio
2013: Ricardo Esgaio

Player of the Season: André Carrillo – The arrival of Nani seems to have brought out the best in André Carrillo, who’s similarity in style to the Portugal winger is evident. The Peruvian was the best he has ever been this year, contributing with goals and plenty of assists. A new contract for Carrillo is surely one of Bruno de Carvalho’s priorities in the summer.
Runners-up: Nani, Adrien Silva
2014: William Carvalho
2013: Rui Patrício
2012: Rui Patrício

News Round-Up 06/07

A round-up of all things Sporting over the past few days.

Abel Ferreira was released from his contract as head coach of Sporting B. The former U19 coach took over from José Dominguez at the start of last season and guided the club to 6th place in the Segunda Liga.

Abel will be succeeded by his assistant and former Sporting player Francisco Barão.

Barão may well be without the services of Tobias Figueiredo as Marco Silva sees the 20-year defender as possibly good enough to be promoted to the first team next season.

The first fixtures of the new season have been announced; Sporting begin their campaign away to Académica before a home game against Arouca. Sporting will finish the season away to Rio Ave. Meanwhile, the B team will kick off away to Farense before ending the season away to Braga B.

Braga have signed Sporting goalkeeper Victor Golas for the next 2 seasons. No word on any transfer fee, if any, for the Brazilian-Polish goalkeeper who has been at Sporting since 2007.

And, another day, another award for William Carvalho this time being named Revelation of the Year by the Liga de Clubes.

News Round-Up 02/07: Sporting Sign Ryan Gauld

Sporting have completed the surprising signing of Dundee United Ryan Gauld for a fee of approximately €3,750,000. The announcement was made on the night of Sporting’s 108th birthday with Gauld signing a 6-year contract with a release fee clause of €60m.

18-year old Gauld, who was been nicknamed “Mini-Messi”, had been linked with a whole host of clubs after breaking through into the Dundee United team including Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal. Last season Gauld scores 7 goals in 37 games for the Dundee club.

At last night’s birthday gala Sporting (I Gala Honoris Sporting) presented its own awards here are the nominations and results from the football-related categories:

Youth Team of the Year was won by the U16 Juvenis B. They beat out competition from U17 Juvenis A, U16 Iniciados A, and U14 Incidiados B.

Best Academia Sporting football school was won by (Escolas Acadmeia Sporting Club Internacional de Foot-Ball) EAS CIF ahead of EAS Carnide, EAS Póvoa de Santa Iria and EAS Toronto.

Revelation of the Year went to, unsurprisingly, William Carvalho. Almost nominated were Carlos Mané, Cédric Soares, and João Mário.

William Carvalho of course one Footballer of the Year with Adrien Silva, Fredy Montero and Marcos Rojo also in contention.

And finally, Coach of the Year was won by Leonardo Jardim, beating out youth coach José Lima, U16 coach Pedro Gonçalves and U14 coach Tiago Fernandes.

Also presented last night were the club’s new kits for the upcoming season. After Sporting’s deal with Puma expired Macron are now manufacturing the kits. The goalkeeper’s shirt can be second second from left and the away and home kits fifth and sixth in the row.

Elsewhere defender Maurício admitted he would consider a call up to the Portugal national team should he not be called up by Brazil. Although with Paulo Bento’s well known dislike of “naturalised” players this option seems unlikely.

Leões/Lions Awards 2014

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

William Carvalho Wins Player of the Month (Again)

William Carvalho was awarded the SJPF Player of the Month for March today beating Benfica’s Rodrigo and Lima.

The award marks Carvalho’s 5th SJPF award of the season. The imperial midfielder was voted young player for August / September and October / November as well as winning player of the month for October / November, December and now March.

Islam Slimani Nominated for Maghreb Player of the Year

Islam Slimani is up for yet another award. The Algerian striker is up for France Football’s Maghreb Player of the Year award.

The award is chosen from players who are from Maghreb nations (Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia).

Islam Slimani is currently 2nd in the public voting behind Roma’s Mehdi Benatia. The voting can be done on the France Football website.

William Carvalho: Player of the Month Again

William Carvalho’s fantastic season continues as he wins his second SJPF Player of the Month award on the bounce and his third SJPF award in a row.

All three of the Player of the Month awards have been given to Sporting players now after Fredy Montero scooped up the first award for August / October. William Carvalho however won the SJPF Young Player of the Month award that month.

For December’s award William Carvalho beat out competition from teammate Adrien Silva and Porto’s Carlos Eduardo.

Elsewhere William Carvalho, André Martins and Cédric Soares were nominated for the Young Player of the Month award too but Paulo Oliveira for Vitória de Guimarães was the eventual winner.

Nuno Reis and Ricardo Esgaio were also nominated for the Young Player of the Month award in the Segunda Liga but lost out to Vítor Bruno of Penafiel.

Islam Slimani Wins Algerian Player of the Year

Islam Slimani received the Algerian Golden Ball last night, the Algerian award for the Player of the Year. The Sporting forward received the award from Rivaldo and Javier Zanetti.

Of course the award was not for his team at Sporting where, although he was impressed, he has been back up to Fredy Montero. Slimani was instead instrumental in helping his country qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

Earlier this season Slimani was also featured on the shortlist for African Player of the Year.