The latest PortuGOAL podcast is split into two parts. Firstly, we sift through the debris of Benfica’s Champions League campaign, and in stark contrast speculate how far Porto can go in the competition. We also doff our cap to Vitória Guimarães and their amazing season before discussing which potential January transfer reinforcements are needed by Sporting, Porto and Benfica.

In Part Two it’s the Seleção all the way as we sum up the situation of the national team under new coach Fernando Santos. We assess his decisions to bring in the old guard, to call up a few (too few?) young guns and hear first-hand from Portugal midfielder Tiago and goalkeeper Beto. We finish by pontificating about how Cristiano Ronaldo’s brilliance may be having a negative impact on his international team-mates. 

 

 

Related: The New Regime - Evaluating Fernando Santos' new-look Seleção

Related: Do Benfica really want another Europa League misadventure?

 

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  • Guest - Andre/UK

    Nice discussion, guys. Some of my thoughts (just on the club side of things for now): yep very disappointing to see Benfica go out in the group stage again this year. The writing was really on the wall already after the first 2 matches ended in defeat, as no team has ever qualified from the group after losing the their opening 2 matches. It was a tough group without doubt, didn't contain a Maribor or a BATE (with all due respect) for example, but still I expected Benfica to qualify and it's a major disappointment to finish last.

    Various reasons for this I think, together with the fact that it was a tough group of course. As I mentioned in my last post, losing literally half the successful team from last season during the summer and not adequately replacing them. I blame the president partially for this: he had to sell players for financial reasons of course, but he made big errors in selling Cardozo (a guarantee of goals), not buying Siqueira (LB still a problem for us this season) and also allowing Garay to leave for such a small fee. On top of this we also had key players missing the entire CL group stage through injury, such as Fejsa, Amorim and Silvio. These players might have been able to make a difference to the results, who knows?

    Of course JJ takes some of the blame too. He made some tactical and selection errors in some of the matches. Best example being the match away to Leverkusen, when he started some green players such as Cristante for the first time. He also persisted throughout with some players like Jardel and Derley, who frankly are not CL quality. These errors clearly backfired and were part of the reason we crashed out.

    So yes disappointing for Benfica to exit early again, but at the same time there's a very relevant point here that the reality is that Portuguese teams in general crash out often at the group stage of the CL. Let's take a look at how many times Portuguese teams have made it out of the group stage in the last 6 seasons (since JJ has been at SLB): Benfica once, Porto 3 times, Sporting 0 (although that could be 1 by next week) and Braga 0. Furthermore only once in this time has our Liga been represented in the quarter-finals (Benfica in 2012). So I don't see why anyone would seem surprised. The fact is money rules the game nowadays, it's just a the sad reality really, and Portuguese clubs just don't have money and always have to sell their big players sooner rather than later. Thus it's no surprise that the ability of our teams to really compete with the rich clubs and make deep runs in the CL is marginal at best. I think Porto could reach the quarters this year, but very much depending on who they draw in the oitavos. There are some tough teams who could finish second in their groups, so we will have to see who they draw.

    Guimaraes have been a great story this year, so refreshing to see another team apart from the usual suspects right up there in the table. Rui Vitoria has done a great job with the team and they have some quality players such as Andre Andre and Hernani. I seriously doubt whether they have the depth to really challenge for the Liga come the last couple of months, but they certainly have the advantage of only having the Liga to play for. I would say that 3rd place (and CL qualification) is a definite realistic target for them and would be a great story.

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  • Good podcast as always fellas. I'm going to disagree with Vasco for once and be an optimist! Porto will make the CL finals. The talent on this team us stellar and let's not forget that aside from the Taca loss, they are undefeated. The issue that Vasco rightly points out about the middle of the park is eliminated whenever Ruben Neves plays so Lopetegui has to make the youngster integral again, which he looks to be doing again.

    I will also disagree on who Porto could/should buy in January. They never really got a backup right back and this is the position they should reinforce.

    As for Zbording, no doubt, CB is the problem area. Paulo Oliveira is solid but Sarr and Mauricio are shaky. If the rumours are true that SCP is chasing Ricardo Costa, this could be the key signing that solidifies the lions.

    Benfica's area of reinforcement is simple. Manager. Once they get that position sorted out, they'll be fine.

    Cheers fellas, an enjoyable listen from TK, Vasco and Nathan.

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  • Guest - Oscar

    Enjoyed the podcast, agree completely with the Fernando Santos assessment, you must earn the right to play good football, first you build the base from defensive solidity and only then can you construct a plan of attack. This will come with time and with the integration of some of the young talent. Andre Gomes is improving every week in Spain and has become the most important player in Valencias side along with Otamendi and for me is a player with immense potential and while some of the young players have not been playing all that well in particular William Carvalho. Bruno Fernandes in the past month has taken his game to a new level and has a knack of performing at key moments his links with Juventus is a sign that his quality is being recognised more so than in Portugal. Your criticism of Bernardo Silva is completely unfair, he has gone to far More physical league than portugal to a new environment and starting or come off the bench for Monaco a team need I remind you topped Benficas champions league group, the team who cast him aside, the French love him and the commentary there on him this season has been overwhelmingly positive, with a journalist from Lequipe comparing him to James. The criticism of Marcos Lopes is even more rediculous, it's no secret that when Marcos Lopes has been injured Lille has been terrible, but when he is playing there results have been more postive. I'm not sure how you have easily written off the achievements of this 18 year old as Rene Girard sees him as the best player in his squad. The Portuguese pessimism mixed with the North American sensationalism is an interesting mix, perhaps a little more even handed assessments would be the order of the day.

    from Sydney NSW 2110, Australia
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