Summer Transfers 2016 Review: Departures

So, how did Sporting do in the transfer market this summer? Here’s a look. First, we’ll start with the departures before the far more exciting stuff of arrivals.

André Carrillo to Benfica (Free) – Enough has been said of this transfer already.

Héldon Ramos to Rio Ave (Loan) – Another loan move for Cape Verdean and once again at Rio Ave. The forward doesn’t seem to feature in Jorge Jesus’ plans so it is only a matter of time before his permanent departure.

Mica Pinto to Belenenses (Free) – Mica Pinto was progressing well in the youth system and B teams but he suffered some major injuries which has hurt his development. Hopefully he can get back to his potential at Belenenses.

Luís Ribeiro to Estoril (Free) – Another player who had plenty of games for the B team but didn’t quite make the grade. Currently has José Moreira and Thierry Graça to beat in the pecking line up.

André Geraldes to Vitória de Setúbal (Loan) – Loan moves to Vitória de Setúbal seem to be a good thing for a lot of Sporting players lately, like João Mário and Rúben Semedo. Geraldes is 25-years old now so he really needs to impress if he wants to break into the Sporting first team.

Tobias Figueiredo to Nacional (Loan) – Tobias was on the fringes of the first team, with the arrival of Sebastián Coates making it difficult for him to get game time. A full season loan at Primeira Liga side should do that and so far he has scored against Benfica for the Madeira side, so that’s a good start.

Francisco Sousa to Gondomar (Free) – Featured for the U19s last season but not deemed good enough to be promoted to the B team so he leaves for Gondomar.

Jorge Silva to Leixões (Free) – Returns to his former club after failing to make the grade with the B team.

Seejou King to Aves (Free) – Had a really bad injury last season but Seejou King is another one who did well for the B team but couldn’t find their way into the senior side. Has yet to make his debut for the club.

Miguel Lopes to Akhisar (Loan) – Miguel Lopes is still a victim of his own high wage demands, another ghost of the Godinho Lopes regime. He joins a large Portuguese speaking contingent at Akhisar in Turkey.

Rafael Barbosa to União da Madeira (Loan) – Although the B team could use his services so far this season, Barbosa has been given a loan to União to improve his game. The 20-year old featured regularly last season and has so far played 6 times for União.

Zhang Lingfeng to Torreense (Free) – The Chinese midfielder didn’t make the grade for the club at youth level so has been given a new lease of life at Torreense.

Domingos Duarte to Belenenses (Loan) – Has played in all 3 of Belenenses’ opening games so far. The young central defender has been improving massively in the last year so can hopefully evolve to the next level in Belém.

Filipe Chaby to Sporting da Covilhã (Loan) – Chaby was an excellent prospect at youth levels but a few injuries have stalled his development. At 22-years old now it’s important that the midfielder impresses for Covilhã this season.

Cristian Ponde to Sporting da Covilhã (Loan) – Much like Chaby, this is Cristian Ponde’s season to try and shine. This is the forward’s first loan move away from the club and scored his first goal for Covilhã against Portimonense last weekend.

Oriol Rosell to Belenenses (Loan) – Rosell didn’t get as much game time at Vitória de Guimarães last season as was expected or needed. It seems Jorge Jesus isn’t a fan of the Spanish midfielder so this may be more a shop window loan for him.

Simeon Slavchev to Lechia Gdansk (Loan) – The Bulgarian midfielder arrived at Sporting a few years ago with a good reputation in his native Bulgaria. Slavchev has yet to convince though so he goes on another excursion, this time to Poland.

Hadi Sacko to Leeds United (Loan) – The French forward scored the winning goal on his Championship debut against Birmingham City. It is unlikely that he will return to Sporting after his loan season though.

Ousmane Dramé to Moreirense (Free) – The French forward was given a new lease of life in Portugal after his career in Italy floundered. He will be remembered for his one game and one amazing goal in the first team.

Zezinho to Levadiakos (Free) – The Guinea-Bissau international looked good for the first team when Jesualdo Ferreira first brought him in back in 2012, but the midfielder fell just short of the required ability for the first team.

Ryan Gauld to Vitória de Setúbal (Loan) – Another player who will hopefully make a large amount of progress at Setúbal. This is the Scottish midfielder’s first taste of Primeira Liga football so hopefully he can progress and fulfil his massive potential.

Francisco Geraldes to Moreirense (Loan) – A player who has already had a great start to life at Moreirense. When the rumours of Adrien Silva possibly moving to Leicester City, there were many calls for Geraldes to be called from loan to fulfil his role. Geraldes looks set to have an outstanding season and will hopefully return ready for the first team next season.

Aya Diouf to Sertanense (Loan) – The Senegalese defender only joined Sporting’s academy a few years ago and will move on loan to Sertanense before being given a B team shot.

Guilherme Oliveira to Cova da Piedade (Loan) – The young goalkeeper has plenty of competition at the club with Pedro Silva, Vladimir Stojković and Luís Maximiano currently the favoured choices. The 21-year old desperately needs regular gam time.

Teófilo Gutiérrez to Rosario Central (Loan, €1,200,000 fee) – Just when Teó was getting good he decided he wanted to return to Argentina. The move was a prolonged affair with the Colombian preferring River Plate as his destination. Although this is a loan move I wouldn’t expect to see Gutiérrez in a Sporting shirt again.

Kikas to Leixões (Free) – Kikas certainly can’t be faulted for his loyalty to the club and it’s only a shame he couldn’t break into the first team. Hopefully goes on to have a great career.

André Martins to Olympiakos (Free) – Despite his promise, André Martins couldn’t make his way into the team with the arrival of Jorge Jesus. Now he joins Paulo Bento in Greece and another player who hopefully finds his way back into prominence.

João Palhinha to Belenenses (Loan) – João Palhinha looked awfully close to getting into the first team this season but just fell short despite featuring a lot in pre-season. Hopefully improves ready to take his spot next season.

Alberto Aquilani to Pescara (Free) – After being stupidly sent off in a humiliating pre-season friendly, that probably sealed the departure of Aquilani. The Italian midfielder looked classy whenever he played but was not going to break into the first team last season and it seems even with the departure of João Mário was not a part of Jesus’ plans and departs.

Naldo to Krasnodar (€4,500,000) – Bought for €3m and sold for €4.5m, isn’t a bad piece of business from Bruno de Carvalho. Initially the Brazilian looked solid alongside Paulo Oliveira in defence but with the arrival of Sebastián Coates and the emergence of Rúben Semedo he found games hard to come by.

Hernán Barcos to Vélez Sarsfield (Loan) – Barcos didn’t impress at all in his stint, joining as part of the transfer of Fredy Montero out to China last season, he didn’t come close to the Colombian’s talent. Although his departure is a loan he is unlikely to return to the club.

João Mário to Internazionale (€40,000,000) – What can we say about João Mário? On the pitch and off the pitch the creative midfielder was a class act. There’s been plenty written about this so I don’t need to expand too much but hopefully João Mário excel at Inter and returns to the club one day in the future. The transfer fee, of course, is a record sale by Sporting and credit must go to Bruno de Carvalho for the negotiations.

Jonathan Silva to Boca Juniors (Loan) – The left-back has had his loan move to Boca Juniors extended after impressing there. With Jefferson seemingly not favoured by Jorge Jesus and Bruno César and Marvin Zeegelaar as the alternatives there’s certainly a spot for the Argentinian in the squad next season.

Ewerton to Kaiserslautern (Loan) – The Brazilian central defender was similar to Naldo in the sense that initially he looked solid but with other players emerging he fell down the pecking order. A move to the Bundesliga could be a good option for him and the German club have the option to buy the player at the end of the loan move.

Iuri Medeiros to Boavista (Loan) – Medeiros again got very close to the first team but just fell short so he will go on another loan move. He impressed at Moreirense last season and at 22-years old now this should hopefully be his final loan move before breaking into the first team.

Carlos Mané to Stuttgart (Loan) – Held back by the emergence of Gelson Martins and, perhaps, the arrival of Jorge Jesus, Carlos Mané hasn’t quite made it yet. After being incredibly promising early on and popping up with goals it seems his future may lie elsewhere. Of course, after his 2 season loan spell at Stuttgart, Mané could return to the club better than ever.

Daniel Podence to Moreirense (Loan) – Much like Iuri Medeiros, Daniel Podence was very close to making it into the first team this season. The diminutive and tricky attacker looked impressive in pre-season but recent transfers meant his first team appearances would be rare. With Sporting’s currently stacked list of young, tricky, quick attacking wingers extending to Matheus Pereira, Gelson Martins, Iuri Medeiros, Carlos Mané and Podence himself a loan move is the best option for him.

Wallyson Mallmann to Standard Liège (Loan) – Again so close yet so far for Wallyson as far as being promoted to the first team goes. Another loan spell may well be his last if he doesn’t impress Jorge Jesus.

Rúben Ribeiro to Aves (Free) – Some websites seem to have this transfer down as a loan but O Jogo claimed the player had rescinded his contract to join Aves on a 2-year deal. Indeed, a loan would probably have been better had he wanted to try and move up the ranks but it seems he’ll be going a different route.

Salim CIssé to Olhanense (Free) – The Guinean forward initially looked very promising but he hasn’t developed as Sporting would have hoped so he could revive his career with Olhanense after rescinding his contract.

Islam Slimani to Leicester City (€30,000,000) – Obrigado, Islam Slimani. Super Slim won everyone over with his passion, his late goals and his performances in the big games. Again, not much else is needed to be said about him as he was a firm favourite with the fans. Initially joining for €300,000 and leaving for 100x more, this will also be seen as the club’s best bit of transfer business to date. Hopefully goes on to have an excellent career and return in the future.

Zakaria Labyad (Released) – What could have been with Zakaria Labyad. The Moroccan has the talent and the potential but he can’t seem to find it when it matters, he won’t be missed and was a relic of the Godinho era.

Total loanees – 24 (almost putting Chelsea to shame)
Income – €75,700,000

Part 2 to follow later…

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Sporting Sign Luc Castaignos, Bas Dost and Pedro Delgado and Other News

It was a very busy weekend off the pitch as as as Sporting completed 3 transfer deals.

First, Bas Dost signed from Wolfsburg on a 4-year contract with a €60,000,000 release clause. The Dutch striker will certainly become the replace to Islam Sllimani, with the Algerian set to depart.  The transfer fee is believed to be in the region of €10m. Bas Dost scored 47 goals in 115 appearances for Wolfsburg and has so far made 6 appearances for the Netherlands national team.

Pedro Delgado signed from Internazionale with Sporting holding 50% of the rights of the player. The 19-year old signs a 2-year contract with an option for 3 more and a release clause of €45,000,000. Delgado, who briefly played for Sporting’s youth system as well as with Portimonense will begin at the B team.

Delgado could make his debut for the B team later today in the game against Vizela.

In what will presumably be Sporting’s last transfer of the season Luc Castaignos joined from Eintracht Frankfurt. The Dutch forward signs a 3 year contract with the option of 2 more and a release clause of €60,000,000. No word yet of a transfer fee, but along with André and Joel Campbell, Castaignos is another reinforcement to what will be a brand new attacking line-up for Jorge Jesus. Castaignos scored 5 goals in 17 games in Germany last season.

Islam Slimani looked set to complete his move to Leicester City. The club’s chairman, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, was apparently at the Alvalade during the game against Porto to complete the move.

Finally, Carlos Mané has apparently agreed to a 2-year loan to Stuttgart. Mané came off from the bench against Porto but has found game time difficult to come by at Sporting the arrival of Jorge Jesus and the emergence of Gelson Martins.

SPORTING 2-1 Porto

Match report from PortuGOAL.net:

Sporting were the victors in the first clássico of the season after an entertainingly scrappy affair at the Alvalade.

Felipe gave the Dragões the lead but goals from the departing Islam Slimani and then Gelson Martins gave the win to Sporting, who now lead the Primeira Liga.

There has been plenty of buzz off the pitch in Portuguese football this weekend with the transfer market making the headlines. The more important action though was on the pitch in the first clássico of the season.

Sporting were, of course, without João Mário after the midfielder’s big money move to Inter. Gelson Martins started in his place and Joel Campbell, on loan from Arsenal, started on the bench.

Despite Nuno Espírito Santo’s side having put Roma to the sword in style in order to qualify for the Champions League midweek, there was only one change; Miguel Layún replaced the injured Maxi Pereira.

Porto take an early lead

Porto may have excused for some tiredness after the game against Roma in the fiery Alvalade atmosphere, but it was they who started the game off with a goal after just 8 minutes.

Referee Tiago Martins gave a soft freekick to Porto outside the area. Miguel Layún’s delivery from it was perfect with Sporting defenders unable to cope and Felipe was allowed to put the ball past Rui Patrício from close range. The Brazilian defender made it 2 goals in 2 games.

Slimani scores against Porto again

Sporting found it hard to get going but they hit back in the 14th minute. It was another freekick situation, this time Bruno César’s shot hit the post. Gelson Martins was the first to react to the situation, and he slid the ball under Iker Casillas. The Spaniard got something on it and it looked like the ball was going to bounce on the goal line and out back into play. However, Islam Slimani, who has a knack of scoring for Porto, made sure of the goal when he smashed it in to score what may be his last goal for Sporting.

Gelson gives Sporting the lead

Sporting grew after that goal and got the second in the 27th minute. Bryan Ruiz picked up the ball in the Porto area. Casillas would later claim it was handball but replays showed that although the ball did touch Ruiz’s hand there was little the Costa Rican could have done about it. Ruiz found Gelson Martin whose powerful shot beat Casillas to put Sporting ahead. Casillas was booked for his protest and Gelson for celebrating without his shirt.

Porto almost hit back immediately. André André picked up the ball from outside the Sporting area and unleashed a fantastic curling shot that had Patrício beaten but went just inches wide.

Then it was Sporting’s turn. This time Casillas was caught out going for a ball and Adrien Silva had a chance but the Spaniard recovered in time to stop Adrien’s shot.

It was a fantastically entertaining 45 minutes of football with Sporting narrowly the better of the two sides. In the second half, although the intensity increased the quality dipped. Nuno Espírito Santo replaced the ineffectual Jesús Corona with the returning Óliver Torres at the break, this being the Spaniard’s first game since returning to Porto from Atlético Madrid.

Sporting almost made it three when Rúben Semedo, who was a rock in defence once again, got his head to Marvin Zeegelaar’s cross. The defender couldn’t keep the ball down to head what would have been an open goal. Casillas was needed five minutes later this time to keep William Carvalho’s header from a corner out.

The game then got scrappy. Sporting looked happy to hold onto the lead and to try and counter where as Porto tried to attack but looked unable to get any fluidity in their movements. João Pereira and Rúben Semedo were having stand out performances in the Sporting back line.

Porto needed to try and change things so Laurent Depoitre came on for André André and later Adrián López for Otávio but the Dragões looked tired from their Champions League victory and as the game wore on became less of a threat despite getting into good positions.

Jorge Jesus, sent to the stands during the second half, which is now almost standard practice for any big match, gave Joel Campbell his debut, replacing compatriot Bryan Ruiz. The Arsenal forward looked lively in his cameo.

In the end, the result was a just one with Sporting overall the better of the two teams and it is they that go into the international break leaders of the Primeira Liga.

SPORTING XI: Rui Patrício; João Pereira (YC), Sebastián Coates, Rúben Semedo, Marvin Zeegelaar; William Carvalho (YC), Adrien Silva (YC); Gelson Martins (YC) (Bruno Paulista, 68’, YC), Bruno César (YC) (Carlos Mané, 90’); Bryan Ruiz (Joel Campbell, 68’), Islam Slimani
Substitutes Not Used: Beto, Ezequiel Schelotto, Paulo Oliveira, Alan Ruiz

News: João Mário, Pedro Delgado, Luc Castaignos, Naldo

João Mário is in Milan to complete his signing with Internazionale. The two clubs seem to have finally come to an agreement and, presumably, Inter have managed to make the transfer work whilst still agreeing with Financial Fair Play. The transfer should be made official soon.

The signing of Pedro Delgado from Inter is also nearly complete. The player is apparently in Lisbon completing his medical. The player has apparently had other proposals from clubs in England and Italy but is set to return to Sporting, where he previously featured at youth level.

Sporting are apparently close to completing the signing of Luc Castaignos from Eintracht Frankfurt. The Dutch striker, who turns 24 in September, will be signing for a fee believed to be between €2.5m and €3m according to Mais Futebol. The signing of Castaignos would certainly make Islam Slimani’s departure a more likely outcome. Indeed, France Football were reporting that Leicester City want to up their bid for the Algerian striker.

Naldo has left Sporting to join Krasnodar on a permanent transfer. It was initially believed to be a loan deal but the Russian club have signed the player for 4 seasons. Once again, no word yet of a transfer fee.

One transfer fee we do know is that Douglas Teixeira joined Sporting for €1m, aaccording to Trabzonspor themselves. If Douglas is the replacement to Naldo, it looks like Sporting may have made a profit with that one.

SPORTING 2-3 Real Betis

Sporting succumbed to another pre-season defeat, this time in the Algarve against Real Betis. Sporting took the lead through Alan Ruiz before Rubén Castro scored a hatrick. Islam Slimani pulled on back before the end but it wasn’t enough against an unnecessarily combative Betis side.

Jorge Jesus gave a rare start to Bruno Paulista in midfield alongside William Carvalho. Bryan Ruiz and Alan Ruiz lead the line from the start in what was an otherwise familiar Sporting side.

It was Alan Ruiz who took the lead after just 17 minutes but a quick fire double from Rubén Castro put Betis ahead. Each of the Betis goals exposing a frailty in Sporting’s defence, the kind that has marred pre-season thus far.

Regardless of the score Sporting were the better team with the majority of the possession where as Real Betis, in typical Gustavo Poyet fashion, were more interested in getting as physical as possible.

After the break Jesus brought on João Pereira, Paulo Oliveira, Daniel Podence and Radosav Petrović.

Again Sporting were the better of the two teams but some more bad defending allowed Castro to complete his hatrick after 58 minutes.

Jesus made a few more changes immediately afterwards including bringing on new signing Marcelo Meli.

A Jefferson cross found the head of Islam Slimani to pull one back for Sporting but it wasn’t enough. Although, in the last second of the game Sporting should have had a penalty when Marcelo Meli was obviously brought down in the area but nothing was given.

Sporting have lost plenty this pre-season but the overall performance here was good, all that is needed is for the defensive mistakes to be ironed out. Naldo and Ewerton do not seem to be performing at all under Jesus and it is unlikely they will still be at the club in September.

SPORTING XI: Rui Patrício; Ezequiel Schelotto (João Pereira, 46′, YC), Sebastián Coates (Paulo Oliveira, 46′), Naldo (Ewerton, 74′), Marvin Zeegelaar (Jefferson, 60′); William Carvalho (Radosav Petrović, 46′), Bruno Paulista (João Palhinha, 60′), Gelson Martins (Iuri Medeiros. 60′), Bruno César (Marcelo Meli, 60′); Bryan Ruiz (Daniel Podence, 46′), Alan Ruiz (Scored, 17′) (Islam Slimani, 60′, Scored, 75′)
Substitutes Not Used: Ažbe Jug, Vladimir Stojković, Rúben Semedo, João Mário, Adrien Silva, Alberto Aquilani, Matheus Pereira

SPORTING 2-1 Wolfsburg

Sporting looked back to themselves after an uneasy pre-season with a 2-1 victory over Wolfsburg in the annual Troféu Cinco Violinos. The game saw the return of William Carvalho, João Mário and Adrien Silva to the starting line-up and the difference was obvious.

Indeed, Jorge Jesus’ starting XI for this match was his regular line-up for the second half of last season, so it was very much a full strength Sporting.

Before the match new signing Marcelo Meli was paraded in front of the fans. The Argentinian midfielder joins on loan from Boca Juniors.

Sporting opened the scoring through Islam Slimani, who’s smart finish beat goalkeeper Koen Casteels after Wolfsburg failed to deal with a cross.

Christian Träsch fouled Bruno César in the area to give Sporting a penalty. Adrien Silva stepped up and duly delivered with his effort.

Ricardo Rodríguez also pulled one back before half-time with a thunderous volley but Rui Patrício made an outstanding save to deny him.

At half-time Sporting paraded the new women’s football team.

The second half was a slower game with both sides making plenty of substitutions. Wolfsburg pulled a goal back through Anton-Leander Donkor in the 78th minute.

Wolfsburg couldn’t provide an equaliser though and Sporting once again won the Troféu Cinco Violinos. Most importantly though for Sporting and Jorge Jesus, the team was back to looking its old self.

Sporting now have two remaining pre-season games before the opening game of the season. They will face Real Betis and Nice on the 4th and 5th of August.

SPORTING XI: Rui Patrício; Ezequiel Schelotto (João Pereira 64′, YC), Rúben Semedo (Ewerton, 76′), Sebastián Coates (Naldo, 76′), Marvin Zeegelaar (YC) (Jefferson, 64′); William Carvalho (Alberto Aquilani, 76′), Adrien Silva (Scored, 34′) (João Palhinha, 55′), João Mário (Iuri Medeiros, 46′); Bruno César (Daniel Podence, 76′, YC), Bryan Ruiz (Matheus Pereira, 76′), Islam Slimani (Scored, 26′) (Alan Ruiz, 55′)
Substitutes Not Used: Ažbe Jug, Hernán Barcos

Sporting Sign Leonardo Ruiz, Loan Deals, & Transfer Rumours Round-Up

Yesterday Sporting completed the signing of former Porto B forward Leonardo Ruiz to join Sporting B. The Colombian was signed on loan by Porto from Atlético Nacional from 2014 to 2016. Sporting have an option to made the transfer permanent.

Ruiz said he wanted to aim to score 20 goals this season. With the return of Betinho to Belenenses and the departures of Ousmane Dramé (permanently) and Hadi Sacko (on loan) the B team does need extra fire power up front.

Vitória de Setúbal look set to take Ryan Gauld and André Geraldes on loan for the next season. With how João Mário and Rubén Semedo improved their it could be an excellent move for both players.

There are still plenty of transfer rumours from the various Portuguese dailies. Like always, their scattergun approach means sometimes, just sometimes, they’re right. So here’s a quick round up…

Teófilo Gutiérrez looked set to return to Argentina with Rosario Central apparently the club closest to signing the Colombian striker. According Teó’s agent he also has proposals from the United States and Europe so don’t expect this one to be resolved anytime soon.

One rumour reported by the papers, one that has been reported on for a while, is Eduardo to become Rui Patrício’s back-up for this season. The club just has to work out a deal with Dinamo Zagreb.

Should Napoli eventually sell Gonzalo Higuaín then Islam Slimani would become their priority. Although, Italian press have also linked them with lots of other big name strikers.

Staying in Italy, Atalanta are interesting in Alberto Aquilani. After the Italian midfielder’s performance against PSV Eindhoven, any bid will probably be accepted.

Again in Italy, according to O Jogo, Sporting are interested in Palermo’s Achraf Lazaar. The left-back, a position Sporting apparently want to bolster, is available for €5m.

Sporting are looking to make Sebastián Coates’ loan deal permanently as soon as possible. The Uruguayan is still a Sunderland player.

Canadian forward Cyle Larin, currently at Orlando City, has apparently impressed enough for Sporting to consider a bid that would need be around €4m to capture his signature. With Teó set to leave and apparently Hernán Barcos also set to departure Sporting are in need of a new striker. Lukas Spalvis’ injury leaves only Islam Slimani as a true striker.

The press have linked Sporting with 2 Argentinian midfielders. The first is Eibar’s Gonzalo Escalante and then Boca Juniors’ defensive midfielder Marcelo Meli is apparently on Sporting’s radar as well.

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

Europa League Squad Announced

Sporting have announced their Europa League squad for the upcoming group stages. No real surprises in the squads, Sporting certainly benefitting from being able to register Tobias Figueiredo, Carlos Mané and Gelson Martins as “B” players.

Goalkeepers: Rui Patrício, Marcelo Boeck, Ažbe Jug, Guilherme Oliveira*, Pedro Silva*, Vladimir Stojković*
Defenders: Jonathan Silva, Jefferson, Ewerton, Paulo Oliveira, Naldo, Ricardo Esgaio, Tobias Figueiredo*, Domingos Duarte*, Mauro Riquicho*
Midfielders: Alberto Aquilani, William Carvalho, João Mário, Adrien Silva, André Martins, Bruno Paulista, Francisco Geraldes*, Fábio Martins*, Rafael Barbosa*
Forwards: Junya Tanaka, Islam Slimani, Fredy Montero, André Carrillo, Teófilo Gutiérrez, Carlos Mané*, Cristian Ponde*, Daniel Podence*, Gelson Martins*, Matheus Pereira*

*”B list”

Rio Ave 1-2 SPORTING

Sporting earned  a hard-fought win against a resilient Rio Ave with goals coming from an Adrien Silva penalty and an Islam Slimani header.

Jorge Jesus picked Ricardo Esgaio ahead of João Pereira as well as giving a start to Alberto Aquilani over João Mário.

Sporting got the lead early on when Adrien Silva cooly placed a penalty after a Rio Ave handball. The midfielder will be happy to get the finish after his recent penalty miss.

Sporting’s second goal also came from some poor play from Rio Ave. This time they were unable to clear their lines which allowed Sporting to win the ball high up the pitch. A cross deflected off André Vilas Boas allowing Islam Slimani to head into an empty net.

The home side improved drastically after the break as Sporting seemed to lose some of their dynamic play. Indeed, the likes of André Carrillo, who has been so good so far this season, looked tired after the international break.

It wasn’t much of surprise when Rio Ave did pull one goal back, the Porto loanee Kayembe’s cross found Yazalde to head home after 69 minutes.

Fortunately despite Rio Ave pulling a goal back they looked unable to find another and Sporting grabbed an important win ahead of Thursday’s Europa League tie.

SPORTING XI: Rui Patrício; Ricardo Esgaio, Paulo Oliveira, Naldo (YC), Jefferson; Adrien Silva (Scored, 10′), Alberto Aquilani; André Carrillo (YC) (João Pereira, 90′), Bryan Ruiz (João Mário, 60′); Teófilo Gutiérrez (YC) (Carlos Mané, 77′), Islam Slimani (Scored, 39′)
Substitutes Not Used: Marcelo Boeck, Tobias Figueiredo, Gelson Martins, Fredy Montero