Thursday, September 30, 2004

As expected...

Moaninho's side beat Porto by a clear 3-1. And that's not only his merit, it's mostly Porto defence's...

This team (Porto) is just a very pale image of what it was. The brand new brasilian soon-to-be-stars (and probably sold to some Italian or Spanish team in the process) are just not used to this type of football yet. Luis Fabiano and Diego came to Porto for astonishing prices, and they're just not delivering. Diego cost about 13m € and frankly, he's not half of Deco.

I'm not a follower of Brasilian football, so I'll have to ask someone to explain it to me: is football in Brasil really that soft? Every year a new batch of Brasilian players roam to Portuguese teams, hoping to triumph in Europe and, if they're really good, be sold to Barça, Milan, Real, etc... And every year people say that they take some time to get used to European Football. Is it really that different? Do they play with square balls in Brasil?

When playing in Europe for the first few matches they always seem so disconnected from the rest of the play. Luis Fabiano, branded as a fantastic striker back home, just couldn't get to a single ball. It was Chelsea's defence, you might argue, but don't think he's doing better in Portugal against the likes of Guimarães (1-0, Costinha), Braga (1-1, Maniche) and Leiria (1-1, Quaresma). Diego has shown some value, but he has a long way to go before he can become useful.

If you see other brasilian players in the Portuguese league, who may not have the "star" brand on them yet, they're just so much more reliable. Luisão in Benfica had a pretty bad start to his european career, and now is one of the best brasilian defenders in the world, playing (and well) for the national team and being a solid rock in Benfica's defence. Rochemback, from Sporting, whose injury is widely blamed for his team's underperformance, has also claimed a firm spot in this team fully by own merit and not any media intervention.

These new Porto stars will have to start playing at a much higher level than they are now if they want to live up to the expectations they created themselves.

Anyway, a fully deserved victory for Chelsea, they will be very hard to beat by any team this year, and you can thank it to Mourinho. And Drogba seems to be settling down correctly now, he did a pretty good match yesterday.

Also worth mentioning:
AC Milan's struggle to get by Celtic at home;
Anderlecht's defeat at home to Inter (come on, these belgian guys only played one decent match this season, and it had to be against my Benfica?)
Deco's continuing improvements in Barça, showing everyone that didn't believe in him (Graeme Souness, are you reading this?) how good he really is;
CSKA Moscow proving that the 2nd place in the group will be hard to snatch;
And finally, Arsenal being slowed down by Rosenborg.

Goal Average: 2.875 or one goal less per match compared to yesterday. Still, it's not bad at all.


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