FC Porto confirmed Tuesday that they will continue to play at their old Antas Stadium, at least for the coming two home games, against Rio Ave in the SuperLiga and Felgueiras in the Taça de Portugal. The pitch at the new
Estádio do Dragão needs more time to settle.
FC Porto's Brazilian striker Derlei, the SuperLiga's top scorer but out for several months after injuring himself in the recent game at Alverca, underwent surgery Monday on the cruciate ligament
of his right knee. The operation was by all accounts a success, but the player is unlikely to return this season.
Rio Ave's Brazilian striker Evandro is the professional footballers' union, SJPF's player of the month for December. Top of the list are:
1. Evandro (Rio Ave)
2. Rochemback (Sporting)
3. Sokota (Benfica)
4. Derlei (F.C. Porto)
5. Maniche (F.C. Porto)
6. Liedson (Sporting)
7. Alan (Marítimo)
8. Miguel (Benfica)
9. Casquilha (Gil Vicente)
FC Porto trained for the first time Saturday in the new Estádio do Dragão. The newly-sown pitch was in a bad state at the time of the inauguration game against Barcelona, and it was given time to
settle. Those who took part in the training were tight-lipped afterwards, leaving the doubt as to whether the pitch will be up to its scheduled SuperLiga baptism next weekend against Rio Ave. There is a
chance that the old Antas stadium will still be used if necessary.
Egyptian forward Sabry, currently at Estrela da Amdora, has his former club Benfica
in court for an unpaid 300,000 euros. Sabry's rights have been confirmed by the courts, but the club wants now to negotiate a repayment schedule.
FC Porto forward Derlei, who tore the cruciate ligament in his right knee in the game against Alverca Monday, will be operated on in January and will be out for the rest of the season, at least. As a
sign of solidarity with the player, the club have extended his contract for one more season until 2007.
Diminutive Benfica winger João Pereira, 19, has extended his contract with the club until 2008.
Following the club's request for his release from duty, Benfica central defender Luisão ("I'm sad") will not now be joining the Brazilian Olympic
squad after Christmas and so will be available for the Lisbon derby on January 4th. On the other side of the barricade, Sporting midfielder Rochemback
will have to join the squad. Sporting had also requested his release but were turned down by the Brazilian Football Federation.
Sporting midfielder Fábio Rochemback and Benfica central defender Luisão will both be unavailable for club games for a month after having decided to accept the call to join the
squad in preparations for next summer's Olympic games. Sporting will be the hardest hit as Rochemback, on loan from Barcelona, has proved a key element in their play. Luisão has missed most of the season through injury and has only now returned, scoring the winner for Benfica in the Taça victory over Académica on Wednesday.
António Simões, a team-mate of Eusébio's in Benfica and Portugal's magnificent 60s teams, has been made Benfica's new Director Desportivo.
FC Porto said goodbye to their dear old Estádio das Antas Wednesday. The Antas was inaugurated on May 28th, 1952 with a 2-8 (!) defeat at the hands of Benfica. Wednesday's 3-0
win over Maia in the Taça was the club's 999th game
at the stadium, 800 of which were victories, 119 draws and 80 defeats. Porto scored 2642 goals and conceded 610. On such an historic occasion, it was a pity that only 13,000 could be bothered to turn up to say goodbye to the old place. FC Porto will now move definitively to the nearby
Estádio do Dragão, built from scratch to coincide with Euro 2004.
A group of Portuguese international referees have refused to referee games involving Vitória de Guimarães following constant griping and formal complaints to the Liga by the club. The referees are: Lucílio Baptista, Paulo Paraty, António Costa, Paulo Costa, Olegário Benquerença, Duarte Gomes, João Ferreira and Pedro Proença.
Luís Figo has been voted FIFA's 11th best player in the world. Zinédine Zidane was voted the best player by the coaches of all the national teams of the world. Thierre Henry of Arsenal was second,
Ronaldo of Real Madrid third.
The St. Jakobs Stadium in Basle, Switzerland, was the venue for a charity game 'against poverty' Monday between 'The Friends of Zidane' and 'The Friends of Ronaldo' and in which various
Portuguese players were involved: 'keepers Ricardo of Sporting and Baía of FC Porto, and defenders Paulo Ferreira of FC Porto and Fernando Couto of Lázio. Brazilian defender André Cruz, formerly of Sporting, and
Dutchman Mitchell van der Gaag of Marítimo also played. Portugal's coach Felipe Scolari and former national coach Carlos Queirós both coached the sides. For the record, Ronaldo's team won 4-3.
The teams lined up:
Ricardo, Michel Salgado, Fernando Couto, Aldaír, Roberto Carlos, Nakata, Mijhatovic, Rivaldo, Diego, Robinho and Ronaldo. (Also: Pletikosa, Smoje, Júnior, Van der Gaag, Corrales, Petrovic, Sávio, Roberto Soldado and Cacá.) - Coaches: Luiz Felipe Scolari and Carlos Alberto Parreira.
Vítor Baía, Paulo Ferreira, Contreras, André Cruz, H. Yakin, Djalminha, Vampeta, Zidane, Beckham, Etoo and Suker. (Also: Van der Sar, Donato, Zahovic, De Pedro, Jordi, Luís Fabiano, Palencia, Hedrera, David Degen, M. Yakin.) Coaches: Carlos Queirós and Christian Gross.
FC Porto have been voted the fifth best team in the world by readers of the magazine World Soccer, and their coach José Mourinho the third best coach. AC Milan were the top team, followed by Juventus,
Real Madrid and Boca Juniors.
FC Porto's South African striker Benni McCarthy has withdrawn himself from selection for the national side that will compete in the African Nations Cup
in Tunisia between January 24th and February 14th.
Jorge Jesus, who was previously coach at Vitória de Setúbal and Estrela da Amadora, is the new coach of Vitória de Guimarães after Augusto Inácio
was shown the door following a disastrous start to the season for the northern club.
FC Porto will leave it until January to inaugurate their Estádio do Dragão
in official games. It has already been inaugurated with a friendly match against Barcelona, but the pitch, planted in September, was cut up very badly and needs time to mature. December's games against Beira-Mar (in the SuperLiga) and Maia (in the Taça) will be played at the old Antas, while the first official game should be the SuperLiga reception of
Rio Ave on the weekend of January 4th.
Benfica midfielder Zlatko Zahovic has announced that he will no longer play for the Slovenian National
team, which failed to qualify for Euro 2004 in the play-off against Croatia. Zahovic has played in 77 games in 11 years and has scored 34 goals.
Boavista president João Loureiro has said that he will be standing for another term, and that he will maintain faith with coach Erwin Sanchez.
The last of Sporting's famed Cinco Violinos ('Five Violins'), the core of the team that dominated Portuguese football in the late 40s/early 50s, died at the weekend. Jesus Correia
was 79. At his peak, he played football and roller hockey for Sporting, at the same time working in a warehouse. In 1953 he gave up football to dedicate himself to roller hockey. He recently performed the ceremonial kick-off at the inauguration of Sporting's Alvalade XXI stadium. The other four 'Violins' were Fernando Peyroteo (died 1978), Albano (1990), Travassos (2002) and Vasques (2003).