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[FM21] FC Porto


noikeee
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Top 5 players of the season:

1. Sávio (ML) - Bizarrely missing on the triumphant CL final, but 17 goals and 20 assists. 7.52 ratings means he's the best performing player out of the first XI (those that I save for the big CL matches).

2. Dionathan (MC) - 11 goals in a half-season for the club, including an extraordinary 6 in 6 in CL appearances, all in the knockout rounds. So expensive but so worth it.

3. Reinier (MC, AMC) - Another excellent signing, managed to get 18 goals and 9 assists in his first season for the club, including 8 goals in the Champions League.

4. Fábio Vieira (MC, MR, AMC) - It's insane how much he outperforms his attributes, this was an extraordinary season with 20 goals, 17 assists and a wonderful 7.61 average rating. However all of that was in the easier matches in the league.

5. Eddie Salcedo (AMC) - An incredible goalscoring streak at the end of the season got him to 20 goals (joint club top scorer with Fabio Vieira), which meant he also became the CL joint top scorer on 9 goals (same as Inter's Romelu Lukaku), plus 12 assists.

 

Season 1 - 2020/2021
Domestic:
2nd place in Liga NOS
Taça de Portugal semi-finals
Allianz Cup winners
Supertaça finalists
Continental:
Champions League quarter-finals

Season 2 - 2021/2022
Domestic:

2nd place in Liga NOS
Taça de Portugal 6th round
Allianz Cup semi-finals
Continental:
Champions League group stage
Europa League quarter-finals

Season 3 - 2022/2023
Domestic:

Liga NOS winners
Taça de Portugal semi-finals
Allianz Cup finalist
Continental:
Champions League semi-finals

Season 4 - 2023/2024
Domestic:

Liga NOS winners (undefeated)
Taça de Portugal winners
Allianz Cup winners
Supertaça winners

Continental:
Champions League semi-finals

Season 5 - 2024/2025
Domestic:

Liga NOS winners (undefeated)
Taça de Portugal winners
Allianz Cup winners
Supertaça winners

Continental:
Champions League finalists

Season 6 - 2025/2026
Domestic:

Liga NOS winners (100% win record)
Taça de Portugal winners
Allianz Cup winners
Supertaça winners

Continental:
Champions League winners

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FC Porto becomes the third most reputable club in the world:

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Current plan for me right now is to do one more season with Porto, to see if we can repeat this season and sustain the continental success. After that... we'll see.

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As this career has been all about self-indulgence, managing the club I root for, might as well manage my own national team. Which isn't all that much of a challenge, again, like the club, but I'm here just to have fun!

 

Portugal's recent record in-game has been pretty good:

  • Euro 2020 - quarter-final
  • World Cup 2022 - semi-final (4th place)
  • Euro 2024 - WINNERS
  • World Cup 2026 - semi-final (4th place)

So my first job is to try to retain the European Championship in 2028. Well before that there's the Nations League too, but, you know.

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Posted (edited)

Not sure I have the time to do a proper post so just winging this to kick off the season properly

 

Pre-season 2026/2027

The big news is we sold Sávio, who had been our best player the last 2 or 3 years, to Man Utd much like Zaniolo had been, for another huge fee.

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Beyond that there weren't huge changes, except for another big sale that doesn't show up in the screenshot below - we sold the starting LB Luca Pellegrini to Chelsea for 49M€. So we lost our entire left wing. This was to free up space for the new ubermegadupersuper new LB.

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The new players:

 

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A free transfer!!! We got one of the best leftbacks in the world for free!! Not sure he's better than what Pellegrini was, but he's younger and Portuguese. He's great IRL by the way, shame he plays for Sporting.

 

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One of the most promising teenagers in the world, got him for 59M€ from Sampdoria. I'd like more pace and better finishing to be proper as one of my shadow strikers, but he's a work in progress. Two footed, which helps for the position.

 

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I had 3 RBs, but decided to loan out the 2 youngest guys to bring back Dalot to Porto. Fairly cheap at 12.5M€, club homegrown, and a perfectly decent attacking RB that can play in the league, and sub for Tomas Esteves when he's unavailable.

 

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The big signing, I splashed the 103M€ of his release clause. One of best strikers in the world, could play as an amazing shadow striker but I'm adapting him to LW to replace Sávio - I think he looks amazing for that position as well.

 

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I couldn't resist snapping him up for 16.5M€ which was too good a deal, kept him on loan for Santos though - I have too many shadow strikers at the moment and even had to loan out Lira to give him playing time, so he'll be parked at Brazil for a while then return in the future eventually.

 

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Okay player for the B team, he was cheap and has some potential.

 

 

This gives us our current squad:

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Current starting XI:

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That's the same as last year but with Mendes and Andrade on the left flank, in place of the departed Pellegrini and Sávio.

 

And the season started like this, we've already got 2 trophies in the bag:

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The CL group is unusually tough:

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But we're the reigning champions - the goal for the season is to try to retain the trophy.

To keep the sequence in the league, going on for as long as possible, would be great too, we're currently on 39 consecutive wins, 111 without losing.

Edited by noikeee
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Not as good in Wales. I need to learn how to deal with the tired players in international football, with the games coming one right after the other.

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First cap for

Diogo Dinis (Tottenham wonderkid)

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Very disappointing international break, the national team doesn't seem to cope with the high pressing system I use at club level. Qualification to the Nations League final tournament now seems difficult.

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First cap for

Gonçalo Inácio (Lazio centerback)

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On 07/07/2021 at 18:20, john1 said:

Superb run and would be tough to get anywhere near that again :thup: 

I mean we do have a crazy good squad that's miles ahead of the rest of the league, it's not an achievement. :D

I see you're managing Benfica?!

tenor.gif?itemid=7829182 

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10 minutes ago, noikeee said:

I mean we do have a crazy good squad that's miles ahead of the rest of the league, it's not an achievement. :D

I see you're managing Benfica?!

tenor.gif?itemid=7829182 

Haha :D I was managing them but not touched that save since ;) 

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This international management business is starting to look like a colossal failure.

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I have players that are possibly even better than my Porto side but they just don't play the same, allow the opposition more time on the ball and don't move as fluidly. I can only guess it's a tactical familiarity thing.

 

First caps for:

Joelson Fernandes (PSG winger)

Diogo Dalot (Porto rightback)

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On 08/07/2021 at 20:51, john1 said:

Are you going to resign from Portugal job?

No that was bad but the Nations League is just the League Cup for international sides really. I'm looking forward to the Euros (if we qualify!!).

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  • 4 weeks later...

After a few weeks without playing I've touched this again and reached the halfway point through the season.

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The defeat to Chaves marked the end of that long run, and we looked a little dodgy for a while, but later we've been back to business.

 

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Reinier has been on absolutely astonishing form with an absurd 10 goals in the Champions League group stage alone. However we've been feeling the loss of Sávio a bit, I don't think Javier Andrade has been a convincing enough replacement on the left wing.

 

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Nice draw for the next round, it's pretty rare when we don't play some sort of monster club in the knockouts.

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3 minutes ago, HugoLazgo12 said:

so anyways what the hell is happen to portugal did they lose it all in nations league or maybe this is was european championship curse

We finished bottom of the groups, so we didn't qualify for the final tournament. I haven't had more matches with Portugal since, because the qualifiers for the Euros haven't started yet.

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New kids, new kids everywhere. As if we didn't have enough young prospects (the amount of great youngsters we have out on loan right now is ridiculous).

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The Serbian RB is the one player of this bunch that I can see going a long way. The others I think might struggle, I don't remember when did I make these deals. :lol: I know the Russian kid has been lined up to join for like 2 years already.

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  • 2 weeks later...

After the previous flurry of signings we still picked up a Bulgarian midfielder

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And we bought Hope

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And we bought... a Young Ho 

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More importantly we're also into the Champions League quarter-finals.

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That was pretty easy tbh.

League and all the rest are going as it's expected.

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CL quarterfinals:

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No Man Utd or Man City at this stage is a bit weird. From a 5 season period of 20/21 to 24/25, Utd won the competition twice and so did City.

We have already faced Chelsea this season at the groups, beat them but felt tough. That's an opponent I respect.

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Return to the national team to kick off the Euro qualifiers.

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The Estonia match was very easy, but in Belfast we got a bit of a scare as we went a goal down already in the 2nd half.

First caps for:

Carlos Pinto (my very versatile Porto youth player who I still have at club level, plays wide playmaker but can do anything in the final third really)

Gerson Junior (promising 20yo striker that Juventus just poached from Sporting)

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Posted (edited)

This was a really tough quarter-finals:

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We struggled in the first leg, missing Javier Andrade and Reinier who were both injured; and in the return leg in London we still didn't have the Mexican winger. However we managed to just about get a scrappy goal, long ball from centerback Pirola straight to Reinier, he chipped the keeper and that was it. That's Reinier's 12th goal in the Champions League this season...

 

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In the league we are champions for the 5th straight year, an uninteresting formality by this stage of the career.

 

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I am amazed Ajax beat PSG, this sets up a theoretically winnable semi-final. Defending our trophy as European champions is starting to look within the realm of possibility, but there's work to do still...

Edited by noikeee
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Semi-finals...

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The first leg was tense and frustrating, because we totally dominated, had heaps of chances, but could only score once.

However, in Amsterdam, Javier Andrade unleashed a show as he got a hat-trick within the first 15 minutes. This books our ticket for our 3rd consecutive Champions League final.

 

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It's a repeat of last year's final, we face Bayern again. They'll be itching for revenge given we won it 7-0 last time...

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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL 2026/2027 - FIRST HALF

Here we are again, one year later, to face the same team and try to retain our trophy. Lining up like this:

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Just 2 new faces compared to the 11 that started last year, both on the left flank - Nuno Mendes and Javier Andrade have both been signed in the Summer and have been the starters all season long. Although Nuno Mendes just came back from injury and may not be 100% fit.

 

Onto Bayern:

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Again this is super similar to their lineup last year, which sounds good to me, reminder we won 7-0 last year.

 

 

 

Minute 3: Nuno Mendes releases Javier Andrade down the flank... crosses low all the way to the other flank for Thiago Almada!! GOAL!! 1-0 PORTO!!

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Minute 5: We get mugged right after a short goalkick... Sané is free... Saved by Diogo Costa for a corner!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minute 28: Long ball from Vitinha to Javier Andrade.. shoots from an angle... tipped high up by Livakovic!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HALF TIME: Nothing like last season's exciting, open 7-0, it's been a really dull match instead, but we're winning. We won't mind it if it remains like this.

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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL 2026/2027 - SECOND HALF

 

 

 

Minute 48: Oh no, Javier Andrade is injured and we have to take him off. That's one of our main stars. In comes Tahith Chong for him.

 

 

Minute 51: And that's another injury. Nuno Mendes picked up a bad knock trying to tackle Leon Bailey, he could stay on but I prefer to bring in Melvin Bard.

 

 

Minute 53: Freekick from wide for Bayern, crossed in, Florentino Luis heads it! High!

 

Minute 55: Corner for Bayern, Florentino again on the near post! Held by Diogo Costa!

 

 

Minute 56: Barely one minute later, Bayern release Miggiano down the right flank, he's free... saved by Diogo Costa!!

 

 

Minute 69: A long attack from Bayern dies on a misfired shot by Miggiano. They're pressuring us, we don't look comfortable.

 

 

 

Minute 74: Almada... finds the throughball for Reinier he's clear!!!! Ohhhhhh just wide of the post. The Brazilian shadow striker has had a wonderful season but his legs are getting tired and he's struggling on the pitch - time to sub him out for Renato Busatto.

 

 

 

Minute 78: Bayern looking dangerous again but we counter... Salcedo to Busatto.. Busatto dribbles past a couple of players finds an angle to shoot! Tipped wide!

 

 

Minute 79: On the resulting corner the ball is cleared then falls to us.. a series of rebounds finds Thiago Almada free!!! Saved!! Ball still loose on the area... it's gone out!!

 

 

Minute 80: Oh no!! Dionathan is injured and we've exhausted all our substitutions! We're down to 10 men!!!

 

 

Minute 82: Bayern's Alvarez is free down the left, runs and runs and runs, shoots from an angle! Tipped wide by Diogo Costa!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minute 94: We're deep into injury time, the ref's given 6 minutes.... Wide freekick for Bayern, Elezi will take it....

 

 

Low for Alaba free in the area!!!

 

 

 

 

Blocked by Bard!!!

 

 

 

 

FULL TIME: FC PORTO HAVE RETAINED THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE!!

 

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This was much, much tougher than last year. We didn't play well, Bayern specially in the 2nd half pressured us constantly, and the injuries didn't help, specially in the final 10 minutes when we were down to 10. But we just about held on to win our 2nd European title in a row, 4th in the club's history.

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Some of the very few achievements that were left to pick up, that we got it this season:

 

6 trophies in a season (league, cup, league cup, Supercup, European Supercup and Champions League):

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Porto has become the highest reputation club in the world:

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And we're about to overtake Man Utd as top of the UEFA coefficients as soon as next season's ratings are processed:

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Reinier gets the Champions League Golden Boot with a mental 13 goals:

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Bizarrely, he doesn't get into the CL Dream Team, presumably he was too good for this team. Nuno Mendes, Pirola, Javier Andrade, Dionathan and Thiago Almada made it, though:

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Posted (edited)

Squad stats at the end of the season:

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Last few fixtures and final league table:

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Top 5 players of the season:

1. Reinier (AMC, MC) - Extraordinary in the Champions League with a crazy 13 goals in the competition, he finished the season on a new club record (counting only the seasons after my arrival) of 26 goals; and also got 11 assists. FM doesn't quite seem to rate him at Ballon d'Or level but IRL after scoring 13 in route to lifting the Champions League, he'd be in a prime position. Mental that Real Madrid let him go for just 44.5M€ 2 years ago, without ever really using him above the B team.

2. Javier Andrade (ML) - The club's 2nd most expensive signing ever (103M€ at the beginning of the season from Brighton) took a little to get going, and had his better performances in domestic football not the CL run, but became increasingly unplayable throughout the 2nd half of the year and finished on 24 goals, 12 assists.

3. Renato Busatto (AMC) - Quite possibly the best value for money signing I've made through this whole career, as I got him as a mildly promising kid from Beira-Mar 4 years ago for just 1M€. This season he finally exploded into prominence in the first team squad, scoring 24 goals and also adding 7 assists. However he was a bit rubbish in Europe, it's only in Portugal that his pace seems to put fear into defenders. Picked up his first 2 Brazil caps.

4. Eddie Salcedo (AMC) - Lost his place in the squad to Busatto midseason, only to regain it at the end as Busatto hit a bit of a lull and Salcedo started scoring again. 17 goals and 8 assists was just a little below the 3 guys above, but still pretty impressive.

5. Lorenzo Pirola (DC) - I found it a little hard to pick the 5th best player of the season. Midfielder Dionathan is supremely talented but had a poor year; Fábio Vieira and Daouda Akouokou both got double figure numbers for both goals and assists as mezzala but were behind the aforementioned Dionathan in the pecking order; Thiago Almada also just about got double double figures, and got the winning goal in the CL final, but he's no longer one of the standout players in the side; David Vinhas was sublime in domestic football but I rate him slightly below the starting 2 centerbacks in the CL side; and the other starting centerback Huub Hendriksen is on paper the best defender in the side but played a little below the level of his CB partner. This leaves former Inter man Lorenzo Pirola, as just about the most consistent pick, as the best CB of the season and very highly rated on talent.

 

Complete list of competition results over the years so far:

Season 1 - 2020/2021
--------------------
Domestic:
2nd place in Liga NOS
Taça de Portugal semi-finals
Allianz Cup winners
Supertaça finalists
--------------------
Continental:
Champions League quarter-finals

Season 2 - 2021/2022
--------------------
Domestic:
2nd place in Liga NOS
Taça de Portugal 6th round
Allianz Cup semi-finals
--------------------
Continental:
Champions League group stage
Europa League quarter-finals

Season 3 - 2022/2023
--------------------
Domestic:
Liga NOS winners
Taça de Portugal semi-finals
Allianz Cup finalist
--------------------
Continental:
Champions League semi-finals

Season 4 - 2023/2024
--------------------
Domestic:
Liga NOS winners (undefeated)
Taça de Portugal winners
Allianz Cup winners
Supertaça winners
--------------------
Continental:
Champions League semi-finals

Season 5 - 2024/2025
--------------------
Domestic:
Liga NOS winners (undefeated)
Taça de Portugal winners
Allianz Cup winners
Supertaça winners
--------------------
Continental:
Champions League finalists
FIFA Club World Cup quarter-final

Season 6 - 2025/2026
--------------------
Domestic:
Liga NOS winners (100% win record)
Taça de Portugal winners
Allianz Cup winners
Supertaça winners
--------------------
Continental:
Champions League winners

Season 7 - 2026/2027
--------------------
Domestic:
Liga NOS winners
Taça de Portugal winners
Allianz Cup winners
Supertaça winners
--------------------
Continental:
Champions League winners
UEFA Supercup winners

 

Edited by noikeee
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Posted (edited)

You'd think at this point I'd be bored. Well it's been a bit easy yeah. I was expecting to get tired of this and move on to a new challenge by now. However, first, I'm still enjoying this, and second, I've got something exciting to just about start playing with. The absolute sheer absurdity of talent we have out on loan and ready to join the first team. Can we make this team even better?

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Michel (ST) - Planning to adapt him to shadow striker, obviously. He's not amazing amazing but the fact he has great passing+vision, on top of all the striker stuff is a rare bonus and perfect fit for SS.

George Nikolov (DM DLP) - I might park him on loan for another year as I think Vitor Ferreira/Gardner are marginally better

Silvio López (AMC Shadow Striker) - I think this guy still has a season or 2 to grow, but is going to be absolutely amazing at his best. He's been brilliant in Germany for Union Berlin, it's time to come back.

Juan Duque (ML/AML/AMC) - He'd be perfect as right winger if I played a right winger, I might try him on the winger role i have on the left just to see how he goes and if it works. Note he's a youth product even if he's Colombian (we had a special partnership with a Colombian academy)

Juan Preciado (MR/AMR) - Another ideal fit for winger role on the right, BUT I do play a wide playmaker on the right and he's got an excellent pass in him too, maybe he's a good fit? Amazing potential

Lira (AMC Shadow Striker) - I might just sell him. My idea is to have Reinier, Busatto, Michel, López as my 4 SSs next year, selling Salcedo and moving Pizii to RW wide playmaker. There's just too many guys and this Lira guy didn't fully convince me when he played for us for a while earlier.

António Martins (ML Winger / MC Mezzala) - He is a youth product slightly below first team level. Developing far beyond what I expected.

Eugène Hanslimann (GK) - Youth product, not as good as Diogo Costa but I've called him up for Portugal

 

So the idea is

MC Mezzala - Akouokou / Fábio Vieira / Reinier or Dionathan who'll be starting in other positions

MR Wide Playmaker - Dionathan who I'm adapting from MC / Pizii who I'm adapting from AMC / Preciado returning from loan

ML Winger - Javier Andrade / Alex (new signing incoming) / Duque returning from loan

AMC Shadow Striker (x2) - Reinier / Busatto / Michel returning from loan / Lopez returning from loan / pretty much anyone in the other positions can play here too

 

Sell:

Eddie Salcedo (to free up space for Michel and Lopez as SSs)

Thiago Almada (I think once adapted to MR wide playmaker, Dionathan will be better and Pizii will eventually be better too)

Francisco Conceição (homegrown, but always underperforms)

Tahith Chong (to free up space for new signing Alex as left winger, maybe I got a bit overexcited with getting a good deal for him, not sure he's any better)

Carlos Pinto (homegrown, but mediocre performances)

Lira who's on loan (not as good as the other SSs)

 

Will depend if I get good bids for the guys I want to sell. If they come in and I play this right I could raise huge money to then buy the best RB in the world or best GK in the world or something.

Edited by noikeee
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A good international break, getting the win over Turkey was critical as only the group winners go through directly.

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I've changed the tactics for the national team a bit, mirrored them compared to the Porto tactics (winger on the right instead of left, wide playmaker on left instead of right etc), made one of the shadow strikers a striker, and toned down the pressing slightly. This is to suit the players available.

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Pre-season 2027-2028

So here's how the transfer window actually went.

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Some pretty serious money going in and out. Not planned was the new club record sale of centerback Huub Hendriksen, to Real Madrid for 180M€. He was one of the best CBs in the world but I just found that bid too good. I also sold academy graduate Carlos Pinto (Chelsea, 56M€), leftwinger Tahith Chong (Sheff Utd, 20M€), backup leftback Melvin Bard (Atlético, 32.5M€), backup keeper Pierluigi Gollini (RB Salzburg, 15M€), promising but flawed forward Lira (Hoffenheim, 28M€), academy graduate defensive rightback Cláudio Yordane (Real Madrid, 14M€), backup rightback Julián González (RB Leipzig, 17M€). These last 3 guys were out on loan last year.

One thing I didn't have planned was the last day sale of promising winger Juan Duque, who is another academy graduate, to Hoffenheim for 43.5M€. I originally wanted to integrate him into squad after a few years of loans, but reality is he's rightfooted which really doesn't fit our tactics (I use a pure winger on the left not an inverted one), he was a bad finisher which is a problem for any of my attacking positions, and most importantly he was just really pissing me off with organizing mutinies across the squad. He just seemed like a ******, talented, but too flawed to put up with his crap.

Other things I didn't do as planned, was to keep Thiago Almada and Eddie Salcedo after all - they were starters and playing well last year so I figured it was too much a risk to let them go - and I didn't integrate forward Michel into the squad, decided to only do so with Silvio Lopez - Michel was sent on loan to Santos for yet another season. Francisco Conceição was also kept for yet another year.

Onto the signings. Let's start by the 2 really massive ones that cost upwards of 100M€ each:

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It's a new club record signing at 129M€, to replace the club record sale of Hendriksen at 180M€. There's not much to say, he's slightly inferior to Hendriksen but still world class. Obviously intend to play him as CB not RB. Scored on his debut.

 

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Bad news for Nuno Mendes our previous LB, as I decided to splash 108M€ on possibly the best leftback in the world at the moment... aged just 20. Scored on his debut too, same match as Peterson.

 

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It was probably quite needless from me to hire a leftwinger with so many good ones I had, but I just felt 24M€ was a good deal. He's a fantastic passer which is odd for a pretty pure winger. On paper he's not that wonderful as a dribble-and-cross winger yet started his Porto career with a few brilliant matches already.

 

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A highly promising Brazilian CB that arrives for 12.5M€. Currently just 5th choice after Peterson, Pirola, Vinhas, Mukiele but I intend to move on the aging Mukiele when I get the chance. This kid is "inconsistent" though, which is a trait that's a major red flag for me.

 

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Guess how much this promising Czech talent cost me. Unless you've scrolled up, you haven't guessed the actual ridiculous fee of 71K€. (I think his contract ran out and this was the compensation or something? Idk don't remember well). I loaned him out to Sevilla.

 

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Very long term signing, with little expectations, let's just see what happens. The potential looks very good but he's slow. 500K€.

 

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Not the kind of player that suits my tactics at all, but enormous potential according to my scouts and staff. 1.4M€ deal that could reach 2M€ with clauses. No-brainer.

 

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Another huge potential kid, perhaps a bit more suited to the DLP role I play at DM. Cost me a bit more at 5M€.

 

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A kid I'd hired years ago but could only join now because of turning 18. 625K€. An okay deal.

 

 

And this is how we look like now:

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Large squad but a few of the kids are only here in the senior squad to play early cup games and such, because they're assigned to play in the B team too. Dionathan is being adapted to MR wide playmaker.

 

Here's the current bunch on loan:

 

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I decided to send Pizii out on loan after a fairly underwhelming debut season last year. I was adapting him to MR wide playmaker, but having kept Almada, and also adapting Dionathan and recalling Preciado from loan, he wouldn't play much. He's the star of this bunch, plus rightback Milovanovic who looked bad in his first few months for the club last year, but has big potential on paper. I'm not 100% entirely sold on Nikolov and Michel, even though they haven't played a match for me yet.

 

 

Right, onto the actual results so far.

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2 trophies but both were harder than usual. Rio Ave took us all the way to penalties. Arsenal to extra time. We looked off in these matches, due to lots of players wanting to be transferred to bigger leagues that can pay higher wages.

 

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The Champions League group looks fine. Reminding that what we're playing for this year, is the chance of a 3rd consecutive European title. And the reason I'm keeping on going (besides the fact I'm still enjoying steamrolling Europe with my lads), is I want to see what happens as I ease off into the squad players like Silvio Lopez and Juan Preciado who were out on loan. I just want to see how ridiculous can this squad get. I think it can still get more talented and more dominant on the pitch.

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The latest international break:

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We were uninspired for the Northern Ireland match, but had possibly the best match of our campaign in Turkey and sealed qualification. My strategy of completely rotating 2 different 11s is working in these qualifiers, but looks potentially hard to execute in a competition.

 

First cap for:

Pedro Sousa (versatile Benfica player who I played as ML wide playmaker but could also play centrally or even as IWB as rightback)

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Posted (edited)

And the final international break of 2027:

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Not much going on here, just fulfilling the calendar with a few easy matches. I'm happy to finish the group with the 100% win record, but it wasn't super challenging.

 

These being unimportant matches, I took the opportunity to give the first cap to 3 new players:

Eugene Hanslimann (Porto homegrown keeper who I brought to the senior team at club level this season)

Guilherme Montóia (Hertha attacking LB)

Diogo Nascimento (RB Leipzig midfielder/attacking midfielder)

Edited by noikeee
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Had I been your assistant manager I'd have pulled you to one side and questioned the sale of our world class centre back (considering there was no one better to bring in to replace him).

And then, being an ageing but proud Portuguese, I'd take you for a walk over to the Academy facilities (with my dog 'Jardel') and nod in its general direction, challenging you to dominate with a team of Portuguese graduates, and also adding to the national team's cause of one day lifting the Jules Rimet trophy.

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