From the home of Mourinho, Ronaldo and Xavier
As a new decade begins, and in response to Riccardo Rossi's Serie Aaaaargh! Team of the Noughties, The Portugeezer looks back to put together the best team in the Portuguese league over the last 10 years.
And when thinking about the decade just gone, it's impossible to overlook the fact the FC Porto enjoyed a very successful time, winning six out of 10 domestic leagues and claiming both the UEFA Cup and the Champions League.
Therefore, although there’s still room for players of other teams, it’s only natural and rightful that the vast majority of The Portugeezer’s XI wears blue and white.
Unveiling what would have been a fearsome team...
Goalkeeper: Vítor Baía was arguably the best Portuguese goalkeeper ever. The player with most titles won in the world (a stunning total of 32!), he was class on and off the field. Shame Scolari didn’t hand him the chance of winning yet another title!
Right-back: Jose Bosingwa has certainly come a long way since joining FC Porto in 2003. A liability at first, he would eventually become one of the best full-backs in the world with his now-renowned mazy runs down the right.
Central defender: Ricardo Carvalho was one the most reliable defenders The Portugeezer has seen in his life. His superb positioning and composure are the main reasons why people here weren’t surprised when Chelsea paid €25m to secure his services.
Central defender: Pepe arrived at Porto in 2004 and though it took him a while to settle, he would become a stalwart at the club. Very different in style from Carvalho, his speed, strength and ability to win aerial challenges make him a very complete defender.
Left-back: Léo (Leonardo Lourenço Bastos) moved to Benfica from Brazilian side Santos in 2005 at the age of 30. It was his first and only European adventure, but he adapted very quickly and established himself as a fan favourite.
As wily as a fox, he was able to use his small size (he was less than 5ft 7in) to his advantage and impressed pundits with both his defensive and offensive skills.
Holding midfielder: Costinha, aka “The Minister,” was the guardian that held the key to Porto’s rock-solid defence.
More than a mere tough tackler, Costinha was very effective at set-pieces and scored some crucial goals for the Dragons, including the injury-time strike at Old Trafford that brought a certain manager to widespread English attention.
Central midfielder: Maniche is today far past his prime, but on his day was an industrious, all-round midfielder that could play for any team. He would tackle, assist, score from distance and run the entire match. What else could you ask for, apart from a Nespresso?
Attacking midfielder: Deco is a player of a special, unique breed. The Brazilian-born schemer was blessed with an unusual ability to read the game and dribble past his opponents, a lethal combination that made the difference in many, many games.
No wonder Barcelona fans would later call him Decodificador – The Decoder).
Right-winger: Ricardo Quaresma arrived at Porto in 2004 and didn’t take too long to endear himself to the club supporters with his mesmerising skills and trademark ‘Trivela’ (swerve with the outside of the boot).
In his prime, Quaresma would tear apart any defence and smile afterwards, which was why he was one of the most sought-after talents in Europe not long ago.
Left-winger/Support striker: Lisandro Lopéz was one of the most underrated players in Europe. The Argentinian possesses a tremendous work-rate, above-average technique and goalscoring prowess.
If you think Tévez is the Argentinian Rooney, think again because Lisandro is definitely not inferior to Carlitos.
Striker: Liédson. Who else? “The Slender One” is now in his seventh season at Sporting and is their marquee player. A very clever striker in the box, his more than 100 goals at the club are proof of his innate ability to score.
Subs: Hélton, Bruno Alves, Nuno Valente, Katsouranis, Lucho, Simão, Jardel
Manager: José Mourinho. The man who came, saw and conquered. Survived his wicked first experience at Benfica, turned União de Leiria into a threat and well... won everything at FC Porto (with the exception of the European Super Cup, if you want to be picky).
What do you think? Who would you select for your team? Let the debate begin...
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I would play Jorge Costa instead of Pepe, Jardel instead of Quaresma (for his 01/02 season) and hence play in 4-3-3, and I would save a spot on the bench for Derlei as well.
I don't agree in any way with the choice for the left-back. The natural choice would be Nuno Valente. He won everything with Oporto and had good performances during Euro 2004. I understand that this team has to have a Benfica's player and that was the best that Benfica could give to best team in the decade. This represents Benfica's shape during the first decade of XXI's century...
I can remember a few that could be here and are now excellent players. Could you tell that the likes of Diego, Luis Fabiano and Anderson arrived first in Portuguese League? "Ninja" Derlei, Joao Pinto and others deserved a spot in the bench too...
"Vítor Baía was arguably the best Portuguese goalkeeper ever." That's rubbish. Grade-A rubbish. Glad "arguably" was there. Naming V.B. "the best ever is like calling Harald Shumacher "Germany's finest GK".
Pure FC Porto propaganda.Period.
temjin why do you say that it is a FCPorto Propaganda? Do you discord on any of those choices? What player from this squad do you remove and by who?
In my opinion Liedson or Quaresma should be on the bench and Derlei on the team!
I have to agree that if you're including Jardel as a sub, you really should have him in place of Liedson. Sorry bout he was the golden boot winner for crying out loud! Liedson is a more complete player, but as a striker the goals are the most important.
As far as for the inclusion of Costinha. I'm not happy with that. How about switching to a 4-4-2 and including Jardel and taking out Costinha? Costinha was so massively overrated, take away his repossession skills and the goal against United and he was mediocre at best.
As for the disgruntled anti-Baia fan. Sergio is right. Vitor Baia is the winningest Portuguese goalkeeper... EVER. I think that speaks volumes, personally. The only other goalkeeper who came close in the league in terms of capabilities would be Helton, and I guess Peter Schmeichel could be included as well even though he only played in 2000 and 2001.
As for the left-back option... Leo was miles better than Valente. Valente is slow and sluggish, while Leo is pacey and agile. Not to mention that Valente has a tendency to... well... be dirty, let's put it that way. Do you remember the semi-final against Deportivo in 2004 when he nailed the Depor player in the face and got away with it?
Jorge Costa for Pepe? Have we completely lost it? Jorge Costa is good but nowhere near the player Pepe has become/was at Porto.
I guess my corrections would have to be...
Simao for Lisandro (Sorry but Lisandro isn't that great)
Lucho Gonzalez for Costinha
and in some respects Jardel for Liedson
If you're putting Costinha in there just for winning the Champions League, you might as well throw Paulo Ferreira in there as well. (Who should appear on the subs-list ahead of Valente, hands down)
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