general news - 2007



Cristiano Ronaldo has once again come behind Kaká and Messi in a Player of the Year poll . Uruguayan paper El Pais named him third in the 'Best Players in Europe' category.

Artur Jorge is the new coach of Iran. Jorge has been national team coach of Portugal, Switzerland and Cameroon. In Portugal, he coached FC Porto to a European Cup in 1987 and was also at Benfica.


Benfica's (currently unofficial) claque No Name Boys caused problems during Thursday's 3-0 win over Estrela da Amadora, throwing flares onto the pitch and getting into scuffles with the police. A law passed in May of this year has sought to control claques and to make clubs responsible for them. Eleven claques have so far registered as associations and are 'legal':

FC Porto: Super Dragões; Colectivo Ultras 95
Sporting: Torcida Verde; Directivo Ultras XXI; Juventude Leonina; Brigada Ultras
Vitória de Setúbal: VIII Exercito
Marítimo: Esquadrão Maritimista
Naval: Colectivo Maravilhas
Boavista: Panteras Negras
Olivais e Moscavide: Mosca Knights

Various other claques are currently going through the legalisation process:

União de Leiria: Frente Leiria
Estrela da Amadora: Magia Tricolor
Benfica: Diabos Vermelhos


Olegário Benquerença is the only Portuguese referee that will be present at Euro 2008, and he will only take part as the fourth official. The last time a Portuguese was a main referee was in the 2002 World Cup: Vítor Pereira


AC Milan's Brazilian midfield maestro Kaká has won the FIFA Player of the Year award (based on votes from national team coaches and captains), ahead of Barcelona's Argentinian winger Lionel Messi and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, of Manchester United; the voting went 1047, 504 and 426, respectively. Kaká recently won France Football's Golden Ball ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi, in that order.

According to sports daily A Bola, Benfica are considering modernising the club badge.


Portugal has applied to FIFA to host the 2009 or 2010 Club World Cup, the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) announced Saturday. The FPF president Gilberto Madaíl stressed the importance of getting use out of the ten stadiums built or recovered for Euro 2004, held in Portugal. Some of the stadiums, notably Aveiro, Leiria, and Coimbra, are chronically under-utilized, while the Algarve stadium is the biggest white elephant of all.


The Boavista squad, struggling this season, started training an hour late Friday ahead of the visit to Nacional on Sunday, a delay apparently caused by a mini-strike over late payment of salaries.



Cristiano Ronaldo is on the short list for FIFA Player of the Year, announced Friday, along with Milan's Kaká and Barcelona's Messi. The winner will be announced on 17 December.


Coach Vítor Oliveira returns to União de Leiria to take over from Paulo Duarte, who resigned at the weekend. Oliveira brought Leiria up to the top tier in the 1997/98 season.

Luís Figo underwent successful surgery on Tuesday. The Inter Milan player broke his leg on Sunday in a challenge with Juventus midfielder Nedved.


Inter Milan's former Portuguese internation Luís Figo broke his fibula at the weekend against Juventus. He says he hopes to be back in two months. Figo turned 35 on Sunday.

Paulo Duarte resigned as coach of União de Leiria Sunday after a series of poor results (the latest a 1-3 defeat at home to Nacional), leaving the club at the bottom of the Liga table; União have drawn three of their nine games and won none. Duarte is the fifth change of coach so far this season in the Liga. Jorge Costa lost his job at Sporting Braga last Monday (António Caldas stepping in as caretaker). The first of the season was Fernando Santos, leaving Benfica after the first game to be replaced by José António Camacho. Then on 12 September, Manuel Machado made way for Domingos Paciência at Académica. On 16 September, Francisco Chaló was replaced by Ulisses Morais at Naval.



José Mourinho has told English Sunday newspaper News of the World that he is not interested in the England job as he thinks national sides should have coaches from the same country. He also suggested that his destination may be Italy.

João Loureiro has announced that he will not run again for the presidency of Boavista. This leaves the way clear for local businessman Joaquim Teixeira to be elected.


The Portuguese Football Federation has decreed a minute's silence in all of this weekend's games in memory of former National Team coach Juca (Júlio Cernadas Pereira), who died on Thursday aged 78.

Juca played for Sporting in the 50s (four titles in a row between 1951 and 54) and coached them in the 60s (titles in 1962 and 66). Later he was a well respected coach of the Selecção (40 games, only beaten by Scolari and António Oliveira). He played in the first European Cup game: Sporting-Partizan Belgrade (3-3), on 4 September 1955 at the National Stadium


Cristiano Ronaldo and Deco are on the list of 30 players on FIFA's as candidates for World Player of the Year, announced Wednesday.

João Loureiro has resigend as Boavista president after a poor start to the season: the team are second from bottom and have scored just three goals in seven games.


Ulisses Morais has been named the new coach of the Liga's bottom club Naval, who sacked Fernando Chaló after the fourth jornada. Meanwhile, António Sousa is the new coach of Liga de Honra side Penafiel, taking over from Rui Bento.



José António Camacho was officially presented as Benfica's new coach Tuesday; he signs on a two-year contract.

Around 4,000 fans watched Benfica's first training session with the new coach at the club's training complex in Seixal, south of the River Tagus. Camacho likes to hold training sessions that are open to the public, unlike his predecessor Fernando Santos, sacked on Monday. Wednesday's training session had conditions for entry: fans had to be sócios (associate members) of the club and be wearing an official replica shirt.


Fernando Santos has been sacked as coach of Benfica after just one Liga game (1-1 against Leixões). He is expected to be replaced by Spanish coach José António Camacho , who had a spell at the club between 2002 and 2004.

FC Porto's Dragão stadium has become a part of the tourist route in the city; five thousand people have visited Porto's home in the last month.


The Public Prosecutor has ordered an investigation into an anonymous document received by the judicial Police this week that accuses Benfica president Luís Filipe Vieiria of being involved in dubious practices similar to those for which FC Porto president Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa is currently being investigated under Apito Dourado ('Golden Whistle') – which includes the bribery of referees to swing games Porto's way.


Sporting won a scrappy Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira 1-0 in Leiria Saturday, a swerving Izmailov ("I've never been so happy") drive from 30 metres fifteen minutes from the end enough to beat holders FC Porto. Sporting had hit the post twice in the first half, Kazmierczak hit it shortly after the Sporting goal.

The teams lined up:

FC Porto: Helton, Bosingwa, Bruno Alves, Pedro Emanuel, Marek Cech (Kazmierczak 74), Raul Meireles (Mariano Gonzalez 78), Paulo Assunção (Leandro Lima 83), Fucile, Lisandro Lopez, Adriano, Ricardo Quaresma.

Sporting: Stojkovic, Abel, Tonel, Polga, Pedro Silva (Ronny 10), Miguel Veloso, João Moutinho, Romagnoli (Yannick 86), Izmailov, Derlei (Gladstone 86), Liedson.

It was Sporting's sixth Supertaça; Porto have won 15, Benfica four, Boavista three and Vitória de Guimarães one.


FC Porto's plane from Holland (where they won the Rotterdam Tournament) was diverted to Lisbon Monday. The squad, technical staff and directors were asked to change planes, but the new plane did not have enough seats. FC Porto general director Antero Henrique apparently had a row with the burser on the plane and the police were called and asked the director to leave. The rest of the Porto contingent left the plane in solidarity and made their way north to Porto by bus.

Central defender Ricardo Costa, 26, transferred just recently from FC Porto to German club Wolfsburg, will be out of action for around six months after rupturing the cruciate ligament in his right knee.



Benfica's ex-Director of Football José Veiga has left the club. The former agent wanted his position in the club to be made official and when it wasn't, he decided it was time to go.

Benfica midfielder Nuno Assis has completed his suspension for doping and is now available for selection.

Benfica have contracted former player João Alves (nicknamed 'Luvas Pretas' for the black gloves he always wore as a player) to coach the juniors and help another former player Rui Águas with scouting.

Benfica 'keeper Moreira will be out of action for at least four months after undergoing an operation on a knee that he injured during training.

Portuguese international midfielder Hugo Viana of Valência will also be out for at least three months after breaking a bone in his foot.


Midfielder João Moutinho, 20, will be the youngest player ever to captain Sporting in the National championship.

Benfica have suspended defenders Anderson and Nélson, the former because he refused to travel to Romania for the Cluj friendly as his son is ill, the latter because he arrived at the training ground in the afternoon for a session that had taken place in the morning.


The Benfica brand is the most valuable of the Portuguese clubs, worth 107 million euros, according to a study by the specialist company Interbrand. The FC Porto brand is worth 73 million , Sporting's 66.


The opener to the season, the Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira, this season between FC Porto and Sporting, will be played on 11 August at the Estádio Municipal in Leiria , home of União. the Supertaça pits the previous season's winners of the Liga and the Taça against each other.


Sporting Braga are the first Portuguese club to sell the name of their stadium. The former Estádio Municipal de Braga will now be called the Estádio AXA. The insurance company, which will also be prominent on the players' shirts, will pay 4.5 million euros for the privilege.

Former Sporting and Real Madrid (as assistant to Carlos Queiróz) coach José Peseiro has been presented as the new coach of Greek club Panathinaikos.

Cristiano Ronaldo is to be the main face on the case of the European version of the computer game Pro-Evolution Soccer 2008.


Businessman Joe Berardo has filed a bid with the Lisbon Stock Exchange for the purchase of 85% of shares in Benfica SAD.

Former Benfica striker Rui Águas has returned to the club to coordinate the scouting operation.

Former FC Porto, Rangers and Celta Vigo winger Nuno Capucho has re-joined FC Porto as assistant coach to the U-16s.

Goalkeeper Ricardo is Sporting's new club captain, with João Moutinho and Anderson Polga on standby.

Sporting are to lay new turf at Alvalade XXI, just five months after the previous lot went down, following the recent concert by the Rolling Stones at the stadium.

Utility player Abel Xavier, who has just begun a contract with LA Galaxy, has been offered a role in a Hollywood action film.



The draw for the new season's Liga fixtures and the new Taça da Liga (League Cup) will take place on 12 July.

The winner of the Taça da Liga, sponsored by Carlsberg, will receive 500,000 euros. Carlsberg are to invest six million euros in the competition. It will involve just clubs from the Liga and Liga de Honra (second tier).


Marítimo have contracted much-travelled Brazilian Sebastião Lazaroni, 56, to be their new coach after negotiations with Laszlo Bolöni fell through. Lazaroni's last club was Trabzonspor of Turkey.

Marítimo were the club that used the fewest Portuguese players in the Liga last season: on average, only three of the 14 players used each game were Portuguese. The club that used most Portuguese players were Desportivo das Aves … who were relegated.

The numbers, presented by the Portuguese Footballers' Union, are:

Desportivo das Aves: 10 Portuguese/4 foreigners
Estrela da Amadora: 9/5
Sporting: 8/6
Belenenses: 8/6
Benfica: 7/7
Boavista: 7/7
Paços de Ferreira: 7/7
Spporting Braga: 7/7
Beira Mar: 7/7
Vitória de Setúbal: 6/7
Nacional: 6/8
União de Leiria: 6/8
Académica: 6/8
Naval: 5/9
F.C. Porto: 5/9
Marítimo: 3/11


FC Porto 'keeper Vítor Baía, who hung up his gloves at the end of the season, stays on at the club in charge of 'external relations'.

The Football Federation's Refereeing Council have voted Pedro Proença, of Lisbon, as the best referee of last season.

The Players' Union has accused Boavista of not paying five players for over a year: João Pedro, Hélder Calvino, Hugo Ferreira, Vítor Borges and Stephen Rodrigues. The club responded by stating that the players should be paid by the clubs to which they are loaned out, and that Boavista is only responsible for a complement to the players' wages, which is only due definitively at the end of the 2007/08 season.

Portuguese coach Nelo Vingada has signed a one-year contract with WAC of Casablanca. Vingada was most recently Egypt's U-20 coach, and he has also trained Zamalek of Egypt.

FC Porto and Benfica are in the top twenty of the UEFA Rankings, published Friday. Porto are 13th and Benfica 19th in the list headed by AC Milan. Sporting are the next highest Portuguese club at 37th.

1. Milan (Italy)
13. F.C. Porto
19. Benfica
(37.) Sporting
(90.) Boavista
(96.) Sporting Braga
(119.) Vítória de Guimarães
(129.) Vitória de Setúbal
(129.) Marítimo
(129.) Unão de Leiria
(129.) Leixões
(143.) Belenenses
(143.) P. Ferreira


Romanian Laszlo Boloni, former coach of Sporting, has been in talks with Marítimo about the possibility of taking over at the Madeiran club.


The International Federation of Football History and Statistics has Benfica as the top Portuguese club in a list headed by Spanish club Sevilla:

44th - Benfica
nd - F.C. Porto
th - Sporting
th - Sporting Braga
th - Belenenses

Rogério Gonçalves, who coached Naval and Sporting Braga last season, has taken over from Paco Soler at relegated Beira-Mar.



Naval have named Fernando Chaló, formerly of Liga de Honra side Feirense, as their coach for the coming season.


Paulo Duarte has been confirmed as União de Leiria coach for the coming season. He took over as caretaker from Domingos Paciência during the course of the last season.


Jaime Pacheco, who it was thought would be leaving Boavista at the end of the season, will stay for at least one more. Boavista finished in 10th place in the Liga.

Carlos Carvalhal has returned to the club he coached in the 2003/04 season: Vitória de Setúbal. He replaces Carlos Cardoso on a season-long contract.

Carlos Brito, sacked by Nacional before the end of the season, will replace Vítor Oliveira at newly-promoted Leixões.

It has been rumoured that Jorge Jésus, who performed a minor miracle at Belenenses to qualify them for Europe, will be leaving the club to join Marítmo.

The Players' Union has issued a list of Liga clubs who are behind in the payment of salaries: Marítimo, Vitória de Setúbal, Boavista, Estrela da Amadora, Marítimo, Nacional, Académica and Naval.

FC Porto's veteran 'keeper Vítor Baía has hung up his gloves but will remain at the club in an administrative capacity.


Veteran coach Manuel José, champion for the third year running with Egyptian side Al Ahly, has said that he will be returning to Portugal in a year's time, but not to, apparently, to coach one of the three grandes: "there's no way I'll work at FC Porto with that president [Pinto da Costa], and he doesn't want to work with me. And having coached Sporting twice and Benfica, and with the label that was put on me, my chances with them have died."


Red Bull may be about to invest in Boavista. The Austrian-based beverage concern has already invested in the football teams Red Bull Salzburg and Red Bull New York, plus the Formula One team Red Bull Racing.

Boavista the club is in serious financial difficulties, with wages to the first team allegedly at least two months overdue. In the junior ranks, there are wages owing to the coaching staff going back to last season, according to the weekly O Crime.

Like his team-mate Simão, Nuno Gomes has played his last game for Benfica this season. The club will observe the injury to his groin and decide at the end of the season whether he needs an operation or not.

Fans of Leixões, a northern club with a large following and great history, have asked the club's directors to remove forever the number 12 from the team's shirts as a homage to the fans that have supported the club through thick and thin over the years. Leixões, in the Liga de Honra (second tier), are on course to return to the top flight next season.


Benfica captain Simão Sabrosa underwent surgery on his left knee Monday. He will miss the rest of the season, and the question arises as to how this will affect his value in the close season transfer market; Liverpool had shown an interest in signing him for 15 million euros.



Portuguese legend Eusébio, 65, has been admitted to hospital in Lisbon suffering from arteriosclerosis. He faces a risky operation that may take place in the next few days.

Boavista coach Jaime Pacheco will leave the club at the end of the season. It has been Boavista's poorest season for many years; Pacheco was brought in when Montenegran coach Zeljko Petrovic was sacked after just seven games. Pacheco said in the week that he already has an offer from an unnamed Liga club for next season. He will stay at Boavista until the end of this.


Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa will run again in the elections for FC Porto president ... against himself, as there are no other takers. Pinto da Costa has been the club's president for 25 years – the most successful period in its 114-year history.

Zinedine Zidane will pull on his boots again to play in this year's All Stars game, organised by the Luís Figo Foundation, the proceeds of which go towards helping disadvantaged children. The game will be played on 9 June at the Alvalade XXI Stadium, home of Sporting – Figo's first professional club.

Representatives of FC Porto, Benfica, Sporting and Boavista met with the National Council Against Violence in Sport Friday and committed themselves to registering their respective claques (organised fan groups). The proposal will now go to the Liga dos Clubes, the administrative body overseeing the professional leagues (notably the Liga and Liga de Honra). The claques are a fundamental part of the footballing experience in Portugal but are occasionally at the centre of controversies, for example Porto's Super Dragões, at the root of violent incidents at the recent Benfica-FC Porto clássico.


Carlos Brito has resigned as coach of Nacional after a bad mini-run of a draw and two defeats that left the Madeiran side in 7th, four points behind Paços de Ferreira and a long way from Europe. Brito joined Nacional at the beginning of the season. Serbian coach Pedrag Jakanovic will take over as caretaker.


Spanish coach Alberto Pazos has taken over the reins left dangling by the resignation of Ulisses Morais at Marítimo. He has coached before in Portugal, at Farense and Sporting Braga, but more recently he has been with Pontevedra of the Spanish second division. His contract is until the end of the season, with one more as option.


Sporting's Brazilian central defender Anderson Polga has been voted March Player of the Month by the Players' Union. Sporting forward Yannick Djaló was voted Young Player of the Month.

Liga de Honra side Gil Vicente are to sue Angolan forward Mateus for moral damages after the player terminated his contract with the club, alleging that Gil's medical department had concealed from him the fact that he has hepatitis B. Mateus was at the root of the administrative problems that Gil had last season, ending in their relegation from the top tier.


Ulisses Morais has resigned as coach of Marítimo. He handed in his resignation after the Madeiran side lost 1-2 at home to Sporting Braga on Saturday. Marítimo are currently 10th in the Liga.


União de Leiria sacked coach Domingos Paciência Friday, apparently as a result of the reaction of defender Rossato at not being first choice for the team to play Académica Sunday. The Brazilian full back stormed out of training, the coach took the matter up with the management ... and was promptly shown the door. União de Leiria are 8th, just five points away from Europe.

Benfica have extended Simão Sabrosa's contract until 2012. The club has also extended the contract of Nuno Assis, banned for doping, until 2010.

While most games in the Liga not involving the Big Three normally attract crowds of 5,000 or fewer, Vitória de Guimarães v Leixões in the Liga de Honra (second tier) attracted a crowd of 25,000 Friday, a record for the division. The game, however, was not up to the billing: an uneventful 0-0 draw.



The chairman of Vitória de Setúbal's General Assembly, Ilídio Ferreira, said Wednesday that the club will honour its commitments until the end of the season, but that professional football will be impossible for the coming season if a financial solution cannot be found. The historic club, in José Mourinho's home town, is crippled by debts, especially wages to players, which have gone unpaid for months. One player, Amuneke, was evicted from his home because he could not pay his rent.


Twenty-four people are to be put on trial in the so-called 'Apito Dourado' (Golden Whistle) corruption in football scandal, including José Luís Oliveira (Vice-president of Gondomar Municipal Council) and Valentim Loureiro (ex-president of the Liga and president of Gondomar Council), both on 26 counts of active corruption, and Pinto de Sousa (former president of the Federation's Refereeing Council) on 26 counts of passive corruption, along with a dozen referees and others. The defendants are expected to appeal the decision to send the case to trial, among other things based on the "illegality" of phone taps that are a crucial part of the evidence.


Former Benfica goalkeeper (Manuel Galrinho) Bento, widely regarded as one of the best Portuguese ´keepers of all time, died of a heart attack Thursday at the age of 58. On Wednesday he had been present at the gala celebrating the club's 103rd anniversary, held at the Estoril Casino. Bento was at Benfica for 20 years (1972-92), helping the club to eight championships and six Portuguese Cups. He also represented his country on 63 occasions and was present at the European Championship in 1984 and at the World Cup in Mexico in 1986. There will be a minute's silence before this weekend's games in his honour.

Manuel José, Portuguese coach of Egyptian club Al Ahly, was voted Coach of the Year in Africa in the CAF gala held in Accra, Ghana.

FC Porto's star winger Ricardo Quaresma sold 60% of the replica shirts at the club last year. The other 26 players in the squad sold the remaining 40%.



Rogério Gonçalves handed in his resignation after Sporting Braga lost 1-0 at União de Leiria on Sunday, and it was accepted by the Braga administration on Monday. Taking over the reins is Gonçalves' assistant, the former FC Porto centre-back Jorge Costa - his first time as head coach.


Liverpool's 5-day break in the Algarve finished with a bit of bovver in the early hours of Friday. Players on a night out in Vale do Lobo, apparently drunk, chanted rowdily, broke glasses, urinated in public and damaged parked cars. Coach Rafa Benitez eventually arrived to calm things down. [Correio da Manhã]


Sandro Rosell, former vice-president of Barcelona, told Spanish radio Tuesday that Cristiano Ronaldo would have gone to Barça from Sporting in 2003 (instead of to Manchester United) but for a cash crisis at the Catalan club after they had signed three players, including Roanldinho. Rosell even went to Cristiano Ronaldo's house for dinner (bacalhau and potatoes) to ask him to wait a year. Cristiano Ronaldo and Sporting could not wait, however, and the forward moved to United for 12 million euros.

Referee Augusto Duarte has been fined 750 euros for illegal possession of a firearm. The gun was found during a search of his home in the context of the Apito Dourado ('Golden Whistle') corruption process.

Mallorca's Portuguese centre-back Nunes claims he was opening a can of spinach, not an ironic bottle of champagne, during celebrations of his goal against Zaragoza. He and eight other players were recently punished by the club for a night out. "I was just imitating Popeye," he said.


Benfica forward Derlei, on loan from Dynamo Moscow, made his début as substitute against boavista Friday. He was not on the pitch more than a handful of minutes before he hit Boavista winger Grzelak in the face, off the ball. The incident did not escape the TV cameras, however, and the Luso-Brazilian has been handed a two-match suspension based on the TV footage.

A footballer in the district leagues, José Malheiro, 24, was hit in the face by the ball during a match between Peões and Gerês at the weekend and is now in a coma.



"I still feel like a youngster", said Eusébio as he blew out 65 candles Thursday. Confronted with a review of his career in a This-is-Your-Life-type TV programme, he said: "I can't watch this footage nowadays – I just start crying."

It was also the third anniversary of the death of Hungarian striker Miklós Féher, who collapsed on the pitch in a Benfica game at Vitória de Guimarães. A Mass was held for him at Benfica and a wreath laid at his statue in the Luz by former club president Manuel Vilarinho.

Portuguese Football Federation president Gilberto Madaíl has been voted onto UEFA's Executive Committee, on the day that Michel Platini became the new president of UEFA.

Atlético Madrid midfielder Maniche has donated 5,000 euros to help a quadraplegic man. Pedro Freitas, who needs an operation, appeared on a Portuguese daytime TV show, and Maniche was moved to make his anonymous donation … which was later publicised by the TV channel SIC.


Coach Augusto Inácio, who began the season at Beira-Mar and lasted just two months at Greek club Ionikos, has joined Iranian club F.C. Foolad Khuzestan, bottom of the first division, until the end of the season. Inácio is the first Portuguese coach to work in Iran.


Portuguese coach August Inácio has left Greek club Ionikos after just two months in charge.


Carlos Carvalhal has been replaced at Liga bottom club Beira-Mar by Spanish coach Francisco Soler. the club has signed a partnership agreement with Spanish company Inverfutbol, under which the latter will cover the salaries of the coaching staff, including Soler, and players it selects. Soler led his first training session with the squad Tuesday. Carvalhal's last game in charge was a 6-0 drubbing of Santana in the Taça de Portugal Sunday.

It's the tenth change of coach in the Liga this season:

Pre-season. Co Adriaanse out, Jesualdo Ferreira in (F.C. Porto)
Pre-season. Jesualdo Ferreira out, Zeljko Petrovic in (Boavista)
2nd jornada: Hélio Sousa out, Toni in (V. Setúbal)
7th jornada: Zeljko Petrovic out, Jaime Pacheco in (Boavista)
9th jornada: Augusto Inácio out, Carlos Carvalhal in (Beira Mar)
9th jornada: Carlos Carvalhal out, Rogério Gonçalves in (Sp. Braga)
9th jornada: Rogério Gonçalves out, Fernando Mira in (caretaker), Mariano Barreto in (Naval)
13th jornada: Toni out, Carlos Cardoso in (V. Setúbal)
14th jornada: Carlos Carvalhal out, Francisco Soler in (Beira Mar)


Benfica midfielder Nuno Assis has received a one-year ban from the Court of Arbitration for Sport, for the use of prohibited substances. Discounted from the ban are 161 days already served. The club has vowed to appeal the decision to the Swiss Federal Court.

Football accounted for 13 of the top 20 television programmes shown in Portugal in 2006. The World Cup helped, with the game against France being watched by 82.3% of the population.

João Pinto was questioned for three hours by the Portuguese Fraud Squad Wednesday about the 'disappearance' of over three million euros at the time of his transfer from Benfica to Sporting in 2000. The Sporting Braga player is alleged to have received the money through a side contract, the cash channeled through an English company called Goodstone.

Sporting are to replace the turf on the pitch at Alvalade XXI. Work will start on 9 January and is expected to be finished by 21 January, when Sporting may be playing at home in the Taça.

Barcelona fans have voted Portuguese international Deco into the club's best team of all-time. The full team: Zubizarreta, Puyol, Koeman, Sergi, Guardiola, Deco, Maradona, Michael Laudrup, Cruyff, Romário, Ronaldinho.


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