Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sporting Clube de Portugal Greatest All-Time Team

The year they won the Cup Winners' Cup
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.

GK: Rui Patrício (Portugal)
A graduate of Sporting CP's academy,  Since 2006, he is playing for the first team.  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, Brazil 2014 and recently, Euro 2016.  His performance at Euro 2016 helped Portugal to win their first major international tournament.
Rui Patricio

GK: Vitor Damas (Portugal)
Damas was the starting keeper for Sporting CP from 1966 to 1976. He had spells with Racing Santander before returning to Sporting in 1984.  He had 29 caps.

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)
He played 11 seasons with Sporting before joining Real Sociedad in 1991.  He returned to Sporting in 1994.  He was capped 10 times.  His twin brother Pedro was also a capped player.

RB: Joao Morais (Portugal)
Known as one of Portugal's earliest attacking wingback. 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 WC team, playing in three matches.  He was also remembered for his foul on Pele.

CB: Andre Cruz (Brazil)
Cruz played central defender with Flamengo, Napoli, A.C. Milan, Standard Liège and Sporting Clube de Portugal. His best years were spent with Napoli and Sporting CP. He went to the 1998 WC Finals with Brazil.

Andre Cruz
CB: Jose Carlos (Portugal)
He joined Sporting Clube de Portugal in 1962, from G.D. Fabril in Barreiro.  He won the Cup Winners' Cup in 1964.  He earned 34 caps.  He also went to England 1966, appearing at the semifinal against England and the third place match.

CB: Beto (Portugal)

From 1994 to 2006, he played for Sporting and served as its captain.  He won two league titles.  In 2002, it was a Double year.  He also played with Bordeaux and Recreativo de Huelva.  With Portugal, he earned 31 caps.  He participated at Euro 2000, WC 2002 and Euro 2004.

CB: Alvaro Cardoso (Portugal)
Cardoso played for Vitória Setúbal from 1933 to 1938. In 1938, he joined Sporting, where he would spend ten years at the Lisbon club. He is regarded as one of the best captains of Sporting, having worn the armband during the age of the famous Cinco Violinos ("Five Violins"). In this period, he won the Primeira Divisão four times, the Taça de Portugal four 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 the starting leftback of Portugal in 1960's.   He went to the 1966 WC finals in England.

LB: Rui Jorge (Portugal)
During a 15-year professional career he spent 14 seasons in Primeira Liga, mainly in representation of Porto and Sporting, playing 292 games and scoring seven goals in the competition.  Rui Jorge appeared with Portugal at the 2002 World Cup and two European Championships.

DM: Oceano (Portugal)

Born in Cape Verde, he was probably the greatest player from there. Oceano's family emigrated to Portugal when he was a child. He started his career at Almada A.C. in the lower leagues and, after spells in the second division with Odivelas F.C. and C.D. Nacional, signed with Sporting Clube de Portugal 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)
Mendes was a star in the 1960's.  Except for one season, he only played for Sporting CP.  He earned 21 caps.  During the WC qualifying round for England 1966, he got injured and never fully recovered.  He did not make it to the WC Finals and never played for Portugal again.

CM: Joao Moutinho (Portugal)

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 along with james Rodriguez. 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)
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. His controversial 2000 transfer from Barcelona to bitter rivals Real Madrid 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:  Paulo Futre  (Portugal)
He won a European Cup with Porto in 1987. He was the best Portuguese player in the 1980's. He gained more than 40 caps for his country, representing it at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.  He played in Spain, France, Italy and Japan, most notably with Atlético Madrid and Porto.  With Porto, he won the European Cup in 1987, putting on a Man of the match performance in the final against FC Bayern Munich.

FW/LW: Cristano Ronaldo (Portugal)

He 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
LW: Albano Pereira  (Portugal)
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 between 1947 and 1954.

AM: Pedro Barbosa  (Portugal)
Barbosa graduated with Porto's academy, but never made it to the first time.  Instead, he made his name with Vitoria SC.  In 1995, he joined Sporting CP and played 9 seasons.  He helped the club to reach the Final of UEFA Cup in 2005. He earned 22 caps, and went to Euro 1996 and WC 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.

AM: José Travassos (Portugal)
He 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.

ST: Rui Jordão (Portugal)
Heplayed for Benfica, Sporting CP, Racing Zaragoza and Vitoria SC.  With Sporting CP, he was the league's top scorer twice and was Portuguese Player of the Year in 1980.  He had 37 caps in total.  He was probably best remembered for scoring twice against France at the semifinal of Euro 1984. 

ST: Hector Yazalde (Argentina)

Started his career with Club Atlético Independiente.  He moved to Europe and played for Sporting.  In 1973-1974, 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.

ST: Manuel Fernandes (Portugal)
Started his career with CUF.  He joined Sporting CP in 1975.  At 386 goals in all official competitions, he is the second-highest goalscorer in the club's history. 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.  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 South Africa 2010.
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 team known as  Cinco Violino. He was the league top scorer 6 times. He  played 20 times for Portugal during nearly 11 years, scoring 14 goals.

Honorable Mention
Matías Fernández, António Jesus Correia, Manuel Vasques, Stan Valckx, Emmanuel Amunike, Ricardo Sa Pinto, Lizinho, Nani, Simao Sabrosa.

Squad Explanation

-- 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.
-- Ronaldo, Futre and Figo were selected because they came from the academy. In fact, both Ronaldo and Futre only spent one season with the senior squad. Ronaldo showed potential, but he was not ready for the big time.  Futre actually left Sporting SP for Porto.
-- The team had too many great left wingers.   I selected Albano, Ronaldo and Futre. I cut both Simao and Nani.  I have no space for Emmanuel Amunike.
-- Lizinho and António Jesus Correia should be on the team.

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

1 comment: