Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sporting Clube de Portugal Greatest All-Time Team

1963-1964 Cup Winners' Cup winner
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

This is my selection of a 25 member all-time team for the club.  The number 25 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the Champions' League.

Sporting Clube de Portugal is one of the big three in Portuguese football.  They won numerous of domestic titles and the 1963-1964 European Cup Winners' Cup.  They are also famous for their football academy.  Paulo Futre, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Figo, João Moutinho, Nani, Simao, Ricardo Quaresma, Rui Patricio, Nuno Valente, etc are some of their most famous graduates.  Eight of Portugal's starting eleven  and two of three subs used at the Final of Euro 2016 came from the academy.
2001-2002 Primeira Liga winner (also the double that year)
Team
GK: Rui Patrício (Portugal)
Rui Patrico was a graduate of Sporting CP's academy. Between 2006 and 2018, he played for their first team.  In 2018, he moved to play in for Wolverhampton Wanderers. He became a part of Portugal's player pool in 2008, but only made his debut in 2010.  He was the starting keeper at Euro 2012 and 2016, World Cup Finals 2014 and 2018. Euro 2016.  His performance at Euro 2016 helped Portugal to win their first major international tournament.  
Rui Patricio
GK: Vitor Damas (Portugal)
Vitor Damas was the starting keeper for Sporting CP from 1966 to 1976, winning two leagues and three cups, including the double in 1973–74. He had spells with Racing Santander in Spain.  He played for with Vitória S.C. and Portimonense SC before returning to Sporting in 1984.  He had 29 caps.  He was second-choice at both Euro 1984 and the 1986 World Cup, but in the latter tournament, he played two matches. 

GK: Joao Azevedo (Portugal)
Born in Barreiro, Setúbal District, Azevedo started playing football with two local teams, F.C. Barreirense and Luso Futebol Clube. He signed with Sporting Clube de Portugal in 1935, going on to remain with the club for the following 18 seasons and win 13 major titles, including nine Primeira Liga championships. He earned 19 caps for Portugal.

RB: Carlos Xavier (Portugal)
Born in Portuguese Mozambique, Carlos Xavier played 11 seasons with Sporting CP before joining Real Sociedad with teammate Oceano in 1991.  He returned to Sporting CP also with Oceano in 1994.  At the international level, he was capped 10 times between 1981 and 1993.  His twin brother Pedro was also a capped player for Portugal.

RB: Joao Morais (Portugal)
Joao Morais was known as one of Portugal's earliest attacking wingbacks. He played for many clubs in Portugal, but better known for his 11 seasons with Sporting.  He was an important player as Sporting won the Cup Winners' Cup in 1964.  He was a part of Portugal's 1966 World Cup team, playing in three matches.  He was also remembered for his infamous foul on Pele at the Finals, which sent him out of the tournament.

CB: Andre Cruz (Brazil)
Andre Cruz played central defender with Flamengo.  In 1990, his European career began with Standard Liege.  He later played for, Napoli, A.C. Milan and Sporting Clube de Portugal. His best years were spent with Napoli and Sporting CP.  Internationally, he made 47 appearance for Brazil. He went to the 1998 World Cup Finals with Brazil and also took part in the 1989 and 1995 Copa América, where he won the 1989 edition.

Andre Cruz
CB: Jose Carlos (Portugal)
Jose Carlos joined Sporting Clube de Portugal in 1962, from G.D. Fabril in Barreiro.  He won the Cup Winners' Cup in 1964 with Sporting CP.  At the end of his career, he played for Braga. He earned 34 caps for Portugal.  He went to the 1966 World Cup Finals in England, appearing at the semifinal against England and the third place match.

CB: Beto (Portugal)

From 1994 to 2006, Beto played for Sporting Clube de Portugal  and served as its captain.  He won two league titles, including the "double" in 2001-2002 season.  He also played with Bordeaux and Recreativo de Huelva.  With Portugal, he earned 31 caps.  He participated at Euro 2000, World Cup Finals in 2002 and Euro 2004. He scored a goal against USA at the World Cup Finals in 2002, where the Americans pulled an upset.

CB: Alvaro Cardoso (Portugal)
Cardoso played for Vitória Setúbal from 1933 to 1938. In 1938, he joined Sporting CP, where he would spend ten years. He is regarded as one of the best captains of the club. He captained the team during the famous Cinco Violinos ("Five Violins"). In this period, he won the Primeira Divisão 4 times, the Taça de Portugal 4 times, as well as the Campeonato de Lisboa four times. He earned 13 caps and 11 of those as the captain.

LB: Hilario (Portugal)
Hilario was first noticed at Sporting de Lourenço Marques along with teammate Eusébio.  He joined Sporting CP while Eusebio went to Benfica. He played his entire professional career with Sporting CP, appearing in nearly 450 official games and winning seven major trophies. He was a member of the team that won the 1963 Cup Winners' Cup).  At the international level, he was the starting leftback of Portugal in 1960's.   He went to the 1966 World Cup finals in England.
Hilario
LB: Rui Jorge (Portugal)
During a 15-year professional career, Rui Jorge spent 14 seasons in Primeira Liga, mainly in representation of Porto and Sporting, playing 292 games and scoring seven goals in the competition.  For his international career, Rui Jorge had 42 caps between 1994 and 2004.  He appeared with Portugal at the 2002 World Cup and two European Championships.

DM: Oceano (Portugal)

Oceano was probably the greatest player born in Cape Verde. His family emigrated to Portugal when he was a child. He started his career at Almada AC, Odivelas F.C. and C.D. Nacional. He signed with Sporting CP for the 1984–85 season.  He appeared in over 400 matches for two spells.  In between, he played for Real Sociedad and Toulouse.  He earned 54 caps and was a top player in the early 1990's.  He went to Euro 1996.

CM: Fernando Mendes (Portugal)
Fernando Mendes was a star in the 1960's.  Except for one season, he played his entire career for Sporting CP.  He earned 21 caps between 1959 and 1965.  During the World Cup qualifying round for England 1966, he got injured and never fully recovered.  He did not make it to the World Cup Finals and never played for Portugal again.  He later played for Atlético Clube de Portugal.

CM: Joao Moutinho (Portugal)

Joao Moutinho established himself at Sporting before moving to Porto.  In his first season, he won the treble, including the 2011 Europa League.  In 2013, Porto sold him to Monaco. For Portugal, he became a key player since Euro 2012.  He was a part of the team that won the Euro 2016 in France. In 2012, he missed the penalty against Spain in semifinal shootout. Four years later, urged by Cristano Ronaldo, he converted his penalty kick against Poland.

RW: Luis Figo (Portugal)
Luis Figo is probably one of Portugal's greatest players.  He was the 2000 European Footballer of the Year and  the 2001 FIFA World Player of the Year. He started with Sporting CP. He was known for his controversial 2000 transfer from Barcelona to bitter rivals Real Madrid. It set a world record fee of £37 million (€62 million).  With Real Madrid, he was the first member of the Galacticos. He won the Champions' League title in 2002. He played for Inter Milan and Sporting SP.
Luis Figo
LW: Albano Pereira (Portugal)
Albano was a member of Sporting CP's attacking line dubbed Cinco Violinos (Five Violins) that also included António Jesus Correia, Fernando Peyroteo, José Travassos and Manuel Vasques and winning eight Primeira Liga championships and four Taça de Portugal trophies. He was capped 15 times for Portugal between 1947 and 1954.

AM: Pedro Barbosa (Portugal)
Pedro Barbosa graduated with Porto's academy, but never made it to the first team.  Instead, he made his name with Vitoria SC.  In 1995, he joined Sporting CP and played 9 seasons there.  He helped the club to reach the Final of the UEFA Cup in 2005. At the international level, he earned 22 caps between 1992 and 2002, and went to European Championship in 1996 and World Cup in 2002.

AM: Krasimir Balakov (Bulgaria)
Krassimir Balakov was one of the star player from the Golden Generation of the 1990's. He made 92 appearances for Bulgaria, between 1988 and 2003.  He was best remembered for forming a successful attacking partnership with strikers Fredi Bobic and Giovane Élber at Stuttgart, where he won two UEFA Intertoto Cups (2000 and 2002) and a DFB-Pokal (1997).  Before Stuttgart, He also had a successful spell with Sporting CP, playing with Luis Figo.

FW: Manuel Vasques (Portugal)
Vasques joined Sporting CP  in 1946. During his spell with the club, he appeared in 349 games all competitions. He scored 225 goals, being part of  Cinco Violinos (Five Violins) that also included Albano, António Jesus Correia, Fernando Peyroteo and José Travassos and winning ten major titles, including eight Primeira Liga championships. In the 1950–51 season, Vasques was the league's top scorer.

FW/LW: Cristano Ronaldo (Portugal)
Cristano Ronaldo is one of the greatest forward of his generation.  He is the most expensive players in history from 2009-2013 when he moved from Manchester United to Real Madrid.  At the time of writing, he won the Ballon d'Or winner twice and won Champions' League titles with both Manchester United and Real Madrid.  He helped Portugal to reach the Final of European Championship in 2004 and 2016, winning it in 2016.  
Cristano Ronaldo
AM: José Travassos (Portugal)
José Travassos was one of the first Portuguese players to earn international recognition. He scored against England while playing for a FIFA all-star team.  He was dubbed as "Europe's Joe" by the English press. He was also a member of Sporting CP's attacking line dubbed Cinco Violinos (Five Violins) of the late 1940's. He played 35 times for Portugal between 1947 and 1958.

ST: Rui Jordão (Portugal)
Rui Jordão played for Benfica, Sporting CP, Racing Zaragoza and Vitoria SC.  He was the league's top scorer twice(one each with Befica and Sporting CP) and was Portuguese Player of the Year in 1980 while playing for Sporting CP.  He had 37 caps in total.  He was probably best remembered for scoring twice against France at the semifinal of Euro 1984. It was one of the greatest games in that tournament.

ST: Hector Yazalde (Argentina)
Hector Yazalde started his career with Club Atlético Independiente.  He moved to Europe and played for Sporting CP.  In 1973-1974 season, he scored 46 goals in one single season with Sporting Clube de Portugal, being awarded that season's European Golden Shoe.  The following season, he scored 30 goals and won Europeaan Silver Show.  He earned 10 caps, scoring two goals at the World Cup Finals in 1974.
Yazalde
ST: Manuel Fernandes (Portugal)
Manuel Fernandes started his career with CUF.  He joined Sporting CP from CUF in 1975.  At 386 goals in all official competitions, he is the second-highest goalscorer in the club's history. He was bets remembered for netting 4 goals against rival Benfica in a 7-1 victory in 1986. He later played for Vitoria FC. He earned 31 caps, but was controversially left off the 1986 World Cup squad, despite being the top scorer in the Portuguese league.

FW: Liedson (Brazil/Portugal)
Liedson moved to Sporting CP in 2003 after playing for Corinthians and Flamengo without successes. From 2003 to 2011, he scored 173 goals for them, becoming one of the club's greatest players.  He helped them to reach the UEFA Cup Final in 2005.  With Corinthians, he won the Copa Libertadores in 2012. Although he is a Brazilian by birth, he chose to play for Portugal.  He was first capped by Portugal in 2009 and went to play at the World Cup in 2010. He had 15 caps in total.
Liedson
ST: Fernando Peyroteo  (Portugal)
Fernando Peyroteo was born in Portuguese Angola. He played his entire career with Sporting CP, between 1937 and 1949, scoring 544 goals for them.  He was the star of the forward line known as  Cinco Violino(Five Violins).  He was the league top scorer 6 times.  His goals-per-game ratio was arguably the best in the history of football, at 1.6 successful strikes per game. He played 20 times for Portugal during nearly 11 years between 1938 and 1949, scoring 14 goals.

Peyroteo
Honorable Mention
Matías Fernández, António Jesus Correia, Paulo Futre, Stan Valckx, Emmanuel Amunike, Ricardo Sa Pinto, Lizinho, Nani, Simao Sabrosa, Mário Jardel, Manuel Soeiro, António Oliveira, Alberto Acosta, Jorge Cadete, Ricardo Quaresma.

Squad Explanation

-- From 1963-1964 Cup Winners Cup team, I selected Hilário, Jose Carlos, Joao Morais and Fernando Mendes, Hilário did not play in the Final due to an injury.
-- The Cinco Violins "the Five Violins" was famous forward line in the 1950's. The five players on the line were Fernando Peyroteo, Jesus Corriea, Albano Pereira, Manuel Vasques and Jose Travassos.  However, Jesus Corriea only made honorable mention.  
-- Rui Patrico was rewarded a spot for his performance at Euro 2016.  Normally, I do not consider national team performance for club selection.  Carlos Gomes was the other option.  I never considered Peter Schmeichel because he only spent two years there at the end of his career.
-- Both Cristano Ronaldo and Paulo Futre came from the academy. In fact, both Ronaldo and Futre only spent one season with the senior squad. In the end, I selected Ronaldo because he was too important for the history of the club and for Portuguese football in general.  I left off Paulo Futre because he was simply not on the same level as the developed Ronaldo.  And I have to make room for other players. Futre's defection to Porto might be a factor.  
-- Rui Jordão was Portugal Player of the Year in 1980.  
-- Héctor Yazalde scored 104 goals in 104 games for Sporting CP. He won the European Golden Boot while playing for them. 
-- Manuel Fernandes is the second all-time leading scorer for Sporting CP.
-- The team had too many great left wingers.   I selected Albano, Ronaldo and Futre. So I have to cut both Simao and Nani.  I have no space for Emmanuel Amunike.
-- Liedson led the club to the Final of 2004-2005 UEFA Cup Final. João Moutinho, Beto and Pedro Barbosa also played on that team. -- Rui Jorge, Andre Cruz, Beto and Pedro Barbosa were members of 2001-2002 "Double" team.  Mario Jardel also won the European Golden Boot that season, but his career here is too short.  The other strikers chosen all were legends of the club. He goes to honourable mention only. Ricardo Quaresma was only a teenager that season.  He made my honroable mention largely because he came from the academy.
-- Lizinho and António Oliveira should be on the team.

Formation
4-3-3
The important part was to start Ronaldo, Figo and Peyroteo in their correct position.  



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