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

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News Round-Up: João de Deus takes the B team, International Call-Ups, Two Victories

There’s plenty to catch up on after a few days without a post so we’ll start with the most recent news.

João de Deus will be taking over from Francisco Barão as the coach of the Sporting B team. The former Oliveirense and Gil Vicente manager, who had a modest playing career before becoming a coach, will be working alongside Francisco Barão to coach the side. Barão now will be once against the assistant as he was previously when Abel Ferreira was coach.

This week is another international week and there’s plenty of Sporting players involved. The highlights include Ryan Gauld being selected for the Scotland first team and Tobias Figueiredo being named in the Portugal U21 team. Not to mention Sporting having 6 players in new coach Fernando Santos’ first selection. Here’s the full list:

Algeria: Islam Slimani
Japan: Junya Tanaka
Portugal: Rui Patrício, Cédric Soares, William Carvalho, Adrien Silva, João Mário, Nani
Portugal U21: Tobias Figueiredo, Paulo Oliveira, Ricardo Esgaio, Carlos Mané, Iuri Medeiros
Peru: André Carrillo
Scotland: Ryan Gauld

There was plenty of good results across many different Sporting teams in various sports but we’ll focus on the B team and the first team here.

The B team returned to winning ways, in what we know now was Francisco Barão’s last B team game as head coach, with a 2-1 win at home to Trofense. With Tobias Figueiredo called up to the first team for this game Domingos Duarte made his full professional debut in central defence.

Sporting’s first goal came after just 3 minutes when Papa Alassane diverted the ball into his own goal from a corner whilst under pressure from Sambinha.

The second goal came in the 22nd minute when Wallyson Mallmann completed a fantastic chip from outside of the area as he beat goalkeeper Diogo Freire to the ball.

The B team looked comfortable but just after the restart Ricardo Esgaio was sent off after receiving his second yellow card of the game.

Hélder Sousa managed to pull one back for Trofense as they enjoyed more of the play with superior numbers but Sporting managed to hold out and pick up a much needed win.

SPORTING B XI: Luís Ribeiro (YC); Ricardo Esgaio (YC, RC), Sambinha, Domingos Duarte, Mica Pinto; Fabrice Fokobo (Francisco Geraldes, 81′), Wallyson Mallmann (Scored, 22′), Ryan Gauld; Hadi Sacko (YC) (Mauro Riquicho, 56′), Daniel Podence (Iuri Medeiros, 68′), Salim Cissé
Substitutes Not Used: Guilherme Oliveira, Liu Yiming, Ousmane Dramé, Lewis Enoh

The first team managed to pick up another 4-0 win away from home after an explosive closing third of the game saw Sporting pick up all of their goals. A particular highlight included Fredy Montero grabbing a goal once again.

Paulo Oliveira started in central defence with Maurício out injured. Elsewhere André Martins played alongside William Carvalho and João Mário in midfield giving Adrien Silva a rest.

It was a gruelling first hour for Sporting with Penafiel defending well and Sporting find it difficult to carve out space. Nani could have put the visitors ahead when he connected to André Carrillo’s cross but miscued his effort.

With Sporting labouring in the first half Marco Silva made a double substitution in the 57th minute that turned the tide of the game with William Carvalho and André Martins being replaced by Adrien Silva and Fredy Montero.

Islam Slimani headed home past the diving Alireza Haghighi from Jefferson’s cross in the 69th minute to open the scoring for Sporting.

He then muscled his way into the path of Cédric Soares’ long ball over the top to finish beautifully by hitting the under side of the cross bar and into the net just 2 minutes later.

Fredy Montero’s return to scoring came after an excellent Sporting attacking move. Diego Capel’s low cross found the Colombian able to table in at the far post and end his barren run with his first goal in 300 days.

Montero then turned provider for Sporting’s final goal. Montero’s low ball into the path of Nani allowed the winger to finish with great skill from close range and add extra emphasis to the scoreline.

SPORTING XI: Rui Patrício; Cédric Soares, Naby Sarr, Paulo Oliveira, Jefferson (YC); William Carvalho (YC) (Fredy Montero, 57′, Scored, 82′, YC), João Mário, André Martins (Adrien Silva, 57′); André Carrillo (Diego Capel, 70′), Nani (Scored, 85′) (YC), Islam Slimani (Scored, 69′, 71′)
Substitutes Not Used: Marcelo Boeck, Jonathan Silva, Oriol Rosell, Junya Tanaka

Result: Gil Vicente 0-4 SPORTING

Sporting bounced back from the midweek disappointing with a vastly improved performance away to a listless Gil Vicente. Adrien Silva, Nani, Islam Slimani and André Carrillo all got on the scoresheet but it was João Mário’s performance that stole the show.

Marco Silva made a few changes from his midweek team. Jefferson was suspended and so Argentinian left-back Jonathan Silva took his place to make his debut for the first team. Elsewhere Diego Capel started ahead of André Carrillo and João Mário made his first start at the expense of André Martins. Rui Patrício’s start meant he completed 200 Primeira Liga games for the club.

It took just 10 minutes for Sporting to open the scoring when Adrien Silva unleashed a powerful drive that Adriano Facchini was unable to stop after Slimani’s pass.

Almost immediately after Sporting topped that goal with an even better one. João Mário found Nani who’s fantastically skilful give and go with Adrien Silva found the winger just outside the area. Nani’s strike was perfectly placed to beat Adriano and double Sporting’s lead in style.

Marco Silva’s side were dominant through out the first half with plenty of shots on goal. The pick of the chances fell to Islam Slimani who was put clean through by João Mário but was denied by Adriano.

The intensity of Sporting dropped after the half-time break allowing Gil Vicente to find more of the ball but they were unable to cause much concern for Rui Patrício.

Meanwhile Sporting looked more dangerous on the break and got the 3rd goal of the game in the 69th minute. Sarr’s headed clearance was won by Slimani who played a great one-two with João Mário. Again the midfielder found Slimani in an excellent position and this time the Algerian made no mistake.

Sporting completed the scoring in the 84th minute this time through an excellent counter attack. Substitute Fredy Montero started the attack picking up a loose ball in midfield and fed the ball to João Mário. João Mário then spread the ball out to the left for Nani who returned it again to the midfielder. Selflessly, the youngster laid the ball on for André Carrillo to score off the bench and end a fantastic attacking move.

The result will give Marco Silva’s side plenty of confidence ahead of Friday’s derby at the Alvalade against Porto. João Mário’s fantastic man of the match performance will surely cement his place in midfield and Jefferson finally sees his left-back spot under threat by the very solid Jonathan Silva.

SPORTING XI: Rui Patrício; Cédric Soares, Maurício, Naby Sarr, Jonathan Silva; William Carvalho (YC) (Oriol Rosell, 63′), Adrien Silva (Scored, 10′), João Mário; Nani (Scored, 12′), Diego Capel (André Carrillo, 71, Scored, 84′), Islam Slimani (Scored, 69′) (YC) (Fredy Montero, 74′)
Substitutes Not Used: Marcelo Boeck, Paulo Oliveira, Ricardo Esgaio, Carlos Mané

Week Round-Up: Win, Lose, Draw

There were varying results for all 3 of Sporting’s sides on Wednesday: the U19s beat Maribor, the B team lost to Chaves and the first team threw it away against Maribor.

Match report from PortuGOAL.net:
Sporting contrived to throw away two points in Slovenia after a defensive calamity allowed Maribor to equalise in the final seconds of the game upon their Champions League return.

The Lisbon club had taken the lead in the 80th minute when Nani struck superbly to grab his first goal since returning to the club. That goal was cancelled out when Naby Sarr and Maurício both produced awful clearances leaving 18-year old Luka Zahović to equalise for Maribor.

Sporting may have been 5 years without Champions League football but their opponents for the night, Maribor, have been out of the competition for a full 15 years. Only Adrien, Diego Capel and Nani were not making their Champions League debuts.

Marco Silva made just one change from the team that disappointed at the Alvalade against Belenenses in the last game, Cédric Soares returning to his right-back slot at the expense of the capable back-up, Ricardo Esgaio.

Sporting had the better of the opening stages of the half but it was Maribor who had the better of the chances, Agim Ibraimi finding too much space and forcing a decent save out of Rui Patrício.

The best moment of the first-half for Sporting came in the 28th minute when André Carrillo, Sporting’s best player so far this season, played a fantastic one-two with Islam Slimani before hitting his effort straight at goalkeeper Jasmin Handović. The Peruvian picked up the rebound and curled a superb shot onto the bar.

From that point on came Maribor’s best stint of the game in which they created plenty of opportunities. Marcos Tavares had a decent opportunity when he found space to head the ball but his attempt was straight at Patrício.

The home side’s best chance of the half though fell to defender Aleksander Rajčević. The defender’s header struck Patrício’s post with the goalkeeper well beaten.

Marco Silva made one change at half-time with the ineffectual André Martins taken off and João Mário on to replace him.

The change balanced Sporting’s play and soon they were on top again. Nani picking out a great cross for Islam Slimani, but the Algerian’s header was straight at the goalkeeper.

Despite Sporting’s better control of the second half their defence was shaky. Tavares had another great opportunity but Cédric Soares’ block was essential.

Nani grew into the game and had a decent chance in the 64th minute but Handović was there to stop him.

There was nothing the goalkeeper could do about Nani’s eventual goal in the 80th minute. The winger did well to find space for himself to shoot from outside the box and drilled an effort low into the bottom right corner.

It looked like Sporting were going to kick off their Champions League place with a win but calamity struck in the 2nd minute of stoppage time. Naby Sarr headed a loose clearance that Maurício tried to boot clear, but only succeeded in shanking the ball horribly towards his own net, placing it perfectly for the Portugal-born Luka Zahović to head past Rui Patrício and give Maribor a well-earned point.

This 5th draw in 6 games for Marco Silva and is a cause for concern. Defensive errors are becoming too frequent with the current centre-back partnership and it may not be long before there is a change at the back.

Although Sporting may have thought it unlikely to get out of the group stages this really makes it an uphill struggle. Realistically, Sporting will need to get something out of Schalke and Chelsea now to go through to the knock-out stages, otherwise the Europa League will beckon.

SPORTING XI: Rui Patrício; Cédric Soares, Maurício (YC), Naby Sarr, Jefferson; William Carvalho, Adrien Silva, André Martins (João Mário, 46′); André Carrillo (Carlos Mané, 66), Nani (Scored, 80), Islam Slimani (Fredy Montero, 90+1)
Substitutes Not Used: Marcelo Boeck, Ricardo Esgaio Paulo Oliveira, Diego Capel

Francisco Barão’s Sporting B were 2-0 down after just 7 minutes gone in their game away to Chaves.

Luís Pinto had opened the scoring after just 5 minutes before shortly afterwards Arnold Issoko doubled the home side’s lead.

Sporting managed to pull one back just after the half-hour mark through the returning Salim Cissé.

Chaves scored a crucial 3rd goal in the 63rd minute through Hugo Santos.

After that Sporting B threw everything they could at Chaves but only managed to get one more goal, Francisco Geraldes getting Sporting’s 2nd in the 79th minute.

SPORTING B XI: Luís Ribeiro; Mauro Riquicho, Sambinha, Tobias Figueiredo (YC), Mica Pinto; Wallyson Mallmann (YC), Filipe Chaby (YC) (Francisco Geraldes, Scored, 79′), Iuri Medeiros (YC); Daniel Podence (Ousmane Dramé, 56′), Hadi Sacko (Gelson Martins 73′), Salim Cissé (Scored, 31′)
Substitutes Not Used: Guilherme Oliveira, Domingos Duarte, Rúben Ribeiro, Lewis Enoh

And finally some good news, Sporting’s U19 side won 3-1 away to Maribor as they took part in their first ever UEFA Youth League.

Sporting had the better of the game through out and took the lead through a penalty converted by José Postiga.

José Lima’s youngsters found it difficult to make further headway until an exciting end to the game.

José Correia doubled Sporting’s advantage on the 76th minute but that didn’t last long at all when Nik Lorbek pulled one back for the home side.

That made it a very nervy finish for Sporting but Luís Elói managed to make the game certain in stoppage time to provide an excellent start Sporting’s UEFA Youth League campaign.

SPORTING U19 XI: Vladimir Stojković; Gonçalo Araújo, Bruno Wilson, Ivanildo Fernandes, João Serrano; Bubacar Djaló (Rafael Benevides, 65′), Diogo Barbosa (YC) (Rúben Varela, 73′); Lisandro Semedo (YC) (Arilton Ebó), José Correia (YC) (Scored, 76′), Luís Elói (Scored, 90+2′); José Postiga (Scored, 30′)
Substituted Not Used: Pedro Silva, Hugo Meira, Felício Quiaque, Heriberto Tavares

Sporting’s Champions League Squad Announced

Sporting have sent their squad list to UEFA which includes some notable absentees. Both Miguel Lopes and Shikabala are absent from the least leading to speculations over their future, the latter is expect to return to for a 4th stint with Zamalek. There were though inclusions for Ryan Gauld, Ramy Rabia, Hadi Sacko and André Geraldes.

The full list:

Goalkeepers: Rui Patrício, Marcelo Boeck, Luís Ribeiro, Guilherme Oliveira*, Pedro Silva*, Vladimir Stojković*
Defenders: Cédric Soares, André Geraldes Ricardo Esgaio*, Ramy Rabia, Maurício, Paulo Oliveira, Naby Sarr, Jefferson Jonathan Silva, Mica Pinto*, Tobias Figueiredo*, Domingos Duarte*, Wilson Manafá*, Bruno Wilson*, Bernardo Carlos*, Hugo Meira*, Mauro Riquicho*, João Serrano*
Midfielders: William Carvalho, Oriol Rosell, Simeon Slavchev, Adrien Silva, João Mário*, André Martins, Ryan Gauld, Wallyson Mallmann*, Filipe Chaby*, Francisco Geraldes*, Fábio Martins*, Rafael Barbosa*, Edelino Ié*
Forwards: Diego Capel, Nani, André Carrillo, Carlos Mané*, Héldon Ramos, Nani, Hadi Sacko,Junya Tanaka, Fredy Montero, Islam Slimani, Cristian Ponde*, Iuri Medeiros*, Daniel Podence*, Gelson Martins*, José Postiga*, Matheus Pereira*

The players with asterisks are part of the UEFA “B list”.

Week Round-Up 29/08

It’s been a very busy week for Sportinguistas. There was the Champions League draw, a new signing, Sporting B won and the international call ups. Here’s a round up of the week…

First there were Paulo Bento’s Portugal call-ups. Rui Patrício, Adrien Silva, William Carvalho and Nani all made it into the squad. Cédric Soares presumably missing out through injury. Portugal will be hosting Albania in a European qualifying game.

Rui Jorge’s U21 side named 5 Sporting players for their games against Norway and Azerbaijan. Paulo Oliveira, Ricardo Esgaio, João Mário, Iuri Medeiros and Carlos Mané all feature.

Elsewhere Simeon Slavchev has been called up to Bulgaria, André Carrillo to Peru, Junya Tanaka to Japan, Islam Slimani to Algeria, Héldon Ramos to Cape Verde, Ramy Rabia and Shikabala to Egypt, and Ryan Gauld has been called up to Scotland U21s.

Following up on Cédric Soares, A Bola reports that Sporting expect him to return in time to face Belenenses.

Thursday saw the draw for the Champions League. Sporting’s first participation in the tournament since 2008/2009. Sporting have been drawn along side Chelsea, Schalke 04 and Maribor.

Sporting’s fixtures are as follows:

17th September: vs. Maribor (A)
30th September: vs. Chelsea (H)
21st October: vs. Schalke 04 (A)
5th November: vs. Schale 04 (H)
25th November: vs. Maribor (H)
10th December: vs. Chelsea (A)

The draw also affects Sporting’s U19 side who will face the same teams in their UEFA Youth League draw. Coach José Lima describing it is a “very difficult” group.

Also on Thursday Sporting announced the signing of another forward. 20-year old Frenchman Hadi Sacko has joined from Girondins de Bordeaux after having spent 2014 on loan at Le Havre. The fee for the player is believed to be €1,400,000.

Sacko has signed a 6-year contract with a €60,000,000 release clause.

Elsewhere there was the departure of Hugo Sousa from the B team. The 22-year old defender was released from his contract and has joined Belgian side Waasland-Beveren for 3 years.

Finally, on Tuesday Sporting B moved up to second place in the Segunda Liga with a 3-0 win over Desportivo das Aves. Francisco Barão started with a strong team as Simeon Slavchev, Ramy Rabia and Jonathan Silva all made their B team debuts. Sporting B were also without the suspended Ousmane Dramé leaving the starting line-up with no recognised striker.

It was the Argentine left-back who started the scoring with a beautifully hit strike in the 30th minute leaving Quim with no hope of saving.

Sporting B doubled their league in the 63rd minute when Mica Pinto, playing on the right-side of midfield, pulled the ball back for Ryan Gauld. The Scot’s shot was deflected before going in.

The impressive Ramy Rabia helped with the 3rd goal. His 84th minute shot after a Iuri Medeiros freekick was well saved but the ball bounced to substitute Lewis Enoh to secure the win for Sporting B.

SPORTING B XI: Luís Ribeiro; Mauro Riquicho, Ramy Rabia (YC), Tobias Figueiredo (YC), Jonathan Silva (Scored, 30′); Fabrice Fokobo, Wallyson Mallmann, Simeon Slavchev (Iuri Medeiros, 65′); Ryan Gauld (Scored, 63′); Mica Pinto (YC) (Gelson Martins, 70′), Daniel Podence (Lewis Enoh, 79′, Scored, 84′)
Substitutes Not Used: Guilherme Oliveira, Sambinha, João Palhinha, Jorge Santos

Weekend Rond-Up: Sporting beat Arouca, B team wins and more…

A look back at another bumper weekend for Sporting. Both teams turned out victors with fine margins. Meanwhile there were developments for Vítor Silva and Rúben Semedo.

Sporting left it late to pick up their first win of the season at home to Arouca. Carlos Mané scored from close range after Junya Tanaka’s shot rebounded of the post. Meanwhile Nani’s first game back at Sporting resulted in a missed penalty.

Marco Silva was without the suspended William Carvalho so Oriol Rosell dropped into defensive midfield whilst Naby Sarr kept his place alongside Maurício in defence. Ricardo Esgaio started ahead of the injured Cédric Soares and Nani went straight into the starting XI along side André Carrillo.

The game was certainly much tougher than their first game at the Alvalade last season, also against Arouca, when they ran out 5-1 winners.

Arouca goalkeeper Mauro Goicoechea was the star of the first half keeping out Fredy Montero excellent on two occasions.

There were improvements in the second half and the game’s major controversial moment came in 63rd minute when Sporting won a penalty. Adrien Silva was set to take the penalty as usual until Nani insisted that he take the penalty to try and score on his return. However the winger’s penalty saved by the impressive Goicoechea to give Nani an awkward start on his return from Portugal.

It seemed like Arouca and Goicoechea were going to be able to continue to keep Sporting at bay if not go on and score themselves but Sporting left it late to grab the winner. Marco Silva must be given credit for his gung-ho tactics with Sporting ending the game in the unorthodox 4-1-5 formation.

A Jefferson cross found debutant substitute Junya Tanaka in space in the 3rd minute of extra time.. The Japanese forward’s snap shot hit the post but Carlos Mané pounced on the rebound to give Sporting the winner.

The late win should give Marco Silva’s team confidence ahead of the next game against Benfica at the Luz on Sunday.

SPORTING XI: Rui Patrício; Ricardo Esgaio, Maurício, Naby Sarr, Jefferson (YC); Oriol Rosell (Carlos Mané, 46′, Scored 90+3, YC), Adrien Silva (YC), André Martins (Diego Capel, 76′); Nani (Junya Tanaka, 77′, YC), André Carrillo, Fredy Montero
Substitutes Not Used: Marcelo Boeck, Paulo Oliveira, Jonathan Silva, João Mário

Sporting B also ran out winners with Ousmane Dramé getting the only goal in a 1-0 victory away to Olhanense.

The French forward diverted a low Daniel Podence cross into the goal in the 53rd minute.

Olhanense were reduced to 10-men in the 60th minute when former Sporting youngster Pedro Celestino received his second yellow card.

The teams were even when 81st minute goalscorer Dramé received a straight red card.

Late into the game Francisco Barão gave a professional debut for youngster Gelson Martins when the 19-year old came on as a substitute for Lewis Enoh.

The result moves Sporting B up to 6th in the Segunda Liga.

SPORTING B XI: Luís Ribeiro (YC); Mauro Riquicho, Sambinha, Tobias Figueiredo (YC), Mica Pinto; Fabrice Fokobo, Wallyson Mallmann, Ryan Gauld (Iuri Medeiros, 66′); Daniel Podence (YC) (Filipe Chaby, 75′), Lewis Enoh (Gelson Martins, 90+2′), Ousmane Dramé (Scored, 53′) (RC)
Substitutes Not Used: Guilherme Oliveira, Domingos Duarte, João Palhinha, Jorge Santos

Today Sporting announced two players moving to CF Reus Deportiu. It seems Sporting has close ties with the Catalonia club after Alexandre Guedes transferred permanently to Reus last season as well as Tobias Figueiredo spend a loan spell there.

Vítor Silva has made a permanent transfer to the Segunda División B club representing a large step down for the 30-year old midfielder. The transfer is without a free but should Reus sell on for more than €300,000 than Sporting will be due 25% of the fee.

Also Rúben Semedo has moved to the club on loan for the season with the Spanish club playing the player’s wages in full. The defender has had his share of off-field problems, most recently with a training ground bust-up with Lewis Enoh, so a loan move away is certainly a good option for the club.

Finally it seems Islam Slimani’s future with Sporting may have been resolved. The Algerian forward returned to first-team training today and could feature in the squad to face Benfica next weekend.

Squad list to face Arouca

Sporting have announced the squad that will face Arouca at the Alvalade tomorrow night. Simeon Slavchev and Jonathan Silva both feature and could make their debuts. Nani also features after receiving his certificate allowing him to play.

Sporting will be without the injured Cédric Soares and the suspended William Carvalho. Miguel Lopes has been restored to the Sporting squad but isn’t fit enough to feature so Ricardo Esgaio looks set to start at right-back.

Goalkeepers: Rui Patrício, Marcelo Boeck
Defenders: Ricardo Esgaio, Maurício, Paulo Oliveira, Naby Sarr, Jefferson, Jonathan Silva
Midfielders: Oriol Rosell, Adrien Silva, Simeon Slavchev, João Mário, André Martins
Forwards: André Carrillo, Carlos Mané, Héldon Ramos, Diego Capel, Nani, Fredy Montero, Junya Tanaka

Nani: “I want to have a great season”

Nani made his first interview with Sporting TV since his loan move from Manchester United. After arriving into Lisbon airport with an impressive crowd of fans awaiting his arrival.

“I hope my return will bring many good things for me and the club and repay the kindness shown to me. The reaction at the Aeroporto de Lisboa was a unique moment that I will never forget. I was not expecting to see so many people but I was very happy and pleased. It is a joy to know the fans are happy and have confidence in me. I believe I can be an asset, I can only give my best. I want to make it a great season at Sporting.”

Nani also received support from former Sporting teammate Miguel Veloso who said that Nani could “explode again” on the football scene.

OFFICIAL: Marcos Rojo to Manchester United, Nani Returns on Loan

The protracted Marcos Rojo saga came to an end yesterday when Manchester United and Sporting agreed terms for a €20,000,000 transfer with winger Nani returning to Sporting for a season long loan.

With Sporting now owing 100% Marcos Rojo’s economic rights it means a large profit for the club although Doyen Sports are likely to go to court. Sporting have however paid Doyen back the initial investment the company made in the player. Meanwhile €4,000,000 goes to Rojo’s former club Spartak Moscow as previously agreed in Rojo’s original transfer.

Sporting will receive €10,000,000 immediately – with a further €5,000,000 coming on January 1st 2015 and then against on July 1st 2015.

Most of the profit will go to building a new pavilion for the club which had already received €1,000,000 in fan donations.

Marcos Rojo will complete his medical at Carrington this morning because the transfer is finalised.

Manchester United will also pay all of Nani’s wages for his season long loan. The winger could re-debut this weekend against Arouca after leaving the club in summer 2007.