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[FM21] FC Porto


noikeee
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On 29/08/2021 at 07:25, rich10 said:

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.

We did replace Hendriksen with Peterson, and although on paper Peterson is slightly inferior, he's been in great form from day 1, whilst Hendriksen always seemed to slightly underperform. So in reality we've lost nothing and made about 50M€. ;)

The idea of going with an all-academy team, or an all-Portuguese team, is a good one, but I'm enjoying just going for no-shame total domination. When I get bored of this I think I'll take on another club. The national team project is probably something only on the short-term, I might leave after the Euros, or try to do the World Cup next and leave after it.

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No problems in the first half of the season.

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Next, it's Man Utd, I think this is a tough draw as historically we've struggled against them, but at this stage we should fear no-one anymore.

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Looking at player stats. A few little surprises here.

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Busatto is the top scorer which is not unexpected, but some stuff are off. Silvio Lopez has immediately settled in superb fashion on his return from loan, cementing his place as shadow striker. But it's the goalscoring streak from leftwinger Alex that's been the huge surprise, I didn't think he'd make this much of an impact. Strangely prolific season in a few cameos from Francisco Conceição, too.

Reinier and Ballon d'Or favourite Javier Andrade are strangely absent. Andrade has had a streak of injuries and played little, but I am shocked that Reinier has only scored 3 goals, after his insane season last year.

When it comes to assists, DM Vitor Ferreira (not in the picture) tops it with 8, and then Fábio Vieira, Almada and Juan Preciado (not pictured neither) are next with 7. Cautiously promising first season by Preciado, as wide playmaker...

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One of the very few things I had left as a goal for this career, I've just achieved it. A Porto player has just won the Ballon d'Or.

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He also won the FIFA The Best award and the World Soccer Magazine World Player of the Year. Also featured in the World XI of the Year together with Diogo Costa, who was World Goalkeeper of the Year.

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7 hours ago, noikeee said:

And as you can see Max Peterson has been so successful my staff now rate him 5 stars for CA. ;) 

I've just handed in my resignation letter as your assistant, you clearly know what you are doing here.

:D:applause:

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On 01/09/2021 at 00:25, noikeee said:

One of the very few things I had left as a goal for this career, I've just achieved it. A Porto player has just won the Ballon d'Or.

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He also won the FIFA The Best award and the World Soccer Magazine World Player of the Year. Also featured in the World XI of the Year together with Diogo Costa, who was World Goalkeeper of the Year.

Try not to sell this one ;)

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Another epic transfer window as we break the transfer records for both sales and buys in January!

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As you can see there is a hell of a lot going on here. First, we got a sensational 200M€ for Dionathan. The Brazilian playmaker, who I purchased from Leeds for 118M€ 2 years ago, was on paper one of the best players in the world, but I felt he always slightly underperformed, and only had 2 more years in his contract, with by far the highest wages in the squad - if I wanted to keep him longer, and if he were to actually accept to extend (not a given), I'd have to pay him even more. I wasn't considering to sell him if it wasn't for the huge fee, and for the fact I could find a pretty good replacement in the market.

We also saw the sales of deep-lying playmaker James Garner (47.5M€), who left to make way for an upgrade in the position, and of homegrown winger Francisco Conceição (41.5M€) who never quite met expectations and was behind both Andrade and Alex in the pecking order, albeit he was having his stronger season yet for the club. And then on deadline day an opportunity came up - striker Michel, who I'd just integrated in the first team squad after his loan ended in December, received a 75M€ bid from Man City. Although I liked this kid quite a lot and thought he could perhaps hold down a place as shadow striker once adapted, this is almost a 60M€ profit with him having only ever played 1 match for the club. Plus he was already at the top of his potential, was injury prone, and I'd just picked up a similar player in the market.

So onto the new players:

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At this stage of the career there's limited room to upgrade the squad, but there's 2 or 3 positions in which we "only" have a 3 star player in it. Although the star ratings are dubious, Fernández looks as if he could indeed be an upgrade on Vitor Ferreira and the now gone James Garner - albeit he's probably not as good in the playmaking side of things, he is much better defensively than them.

 

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The player I could get to replace Dionathan. Albeit he doesn't possess Dionathan's incredible 20 vision, the sublime teamwork and work rate are a big bonus, he is still 19 with quite some room to grow, and I could get a contract than runs for another 4 seasons + 1 extra season on an optional clause, and at half of Dionathan's wages. And I made 40M€ in profit, despite the fact he became the club's most expensive signing ever! (160M€). All in all I think it was a sweet deal, even if temporarily it's a slight downgrade on paper, and if I'm still adapting him to MR to be able to play wide playmaker.

 

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Brazil's next big thing, who I purchased but loaned back to his club for another year, just like I'd done for Michel. Although he doesn't have Michel's relentless pace, and looks as if he might soon max out on potential, he has the advantage of already being accomplished at both shadow striker and winger on the left. He looks ready to get into the first team squad one year from now and become backup in both positions.

 

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A less exciting deal, this is a Serbian kid I have signed years from now, only just turned 18 so only could join now, but doesn't seem to have developed much meanwhile.

 

Results for January:

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We actually got knocked out of a competition! Lost the league cup final to Sporting on penalties after dominating on the pitch. Been a while since we failed to win one of the domestic cups.

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3 hours ago, Rikulec said:

Those are some mental sums going both ways. :D

What's wrong with breaking your transfer buying record twice in the same season and still making 200M€ in profit? :D

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It's the Champions League round of 16, and we were very very close to getting knocked out of the competition here.

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After a very even first match in England, we found ourselves leading at home and apparently comfortable at first, only for our former player Niccolò Zaniolo to score the equaliser and put Utd in front on away goals. We weren't creating much in the 2nd half and the clock was ticking, until substitute Alex found a throughball for Reinier to score a very decisive winner.

 

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Liverpool are next, the 2 times we faced them before we won all matches home and away, although the last time was 3 years ago so who knows. If we beat them we're against the winner of Chelsea-Bayern.

 

Rest of the fixtures meanwhile:

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Edited by noikeee
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I believe this is the last international break before the Euros:

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Routine win, we were good in the first half and a bit anonymous in the second.

 

I gave international debuts to 2 players that came through my Porto youth intakes:

Cláudio Yordane (rightback who I sold to Real Madrid and is now at Sochaux)

Faustino Sousa (19yo striker/shadow striker I have loaned out to Zaragoza and might give a first team role next year)

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Quarter-finals:

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We were very lucky to get out of Anfield with a draw - that couldn't have been clearer as our keeper got man of the match. 

On the return leg, it was a totally different story with one of our best European performances ever. Absolutely smashed them and they couldn't get a shot on target.

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Chelsea follows, we have a mixed record against them, struggled to get past them in the quarters last year. Bit weird almost to see Real Madrid still around at this stage, been a very long time since the Spanish clubs have done anything.

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The group for the Euros:

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Should be well within our reach, England are tough but we just smashed the Czechs in a friendly. As the screenshot says, Portugal are the current holders as they've won it under previous manager Paulo Sousa, I'm under pressure to retain the trophy.

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This is what happens when you get relegated out of the Nations League like we did under my watch earlier on.

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I almost forgot the Nations League disaster had happened, thankfully we had a much better Euros qualifying campaign afterwards, which coincided with my change of tactics to mirror the formation and add a striker instead of playing the Porto formation; and with the added level of full squad rotation I'm now using in every single international match. So I'm now positive about my chances as national team manager going into the Euros and future competitions - even if we don't seem to be as clear cut dominant as my day job at Porto.

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Semi-finals:

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The first leg was a pretty solid confident win, although we missed a few chances, the margin of victory could've been higher.

In Stamford Bridge, we crapped our pants momentarily after they scored the first, but it didn't took long until we scored as well and that was the tie pretty much over there. We are through to our 4th consecutive CL final to try to defend the trophy that we won the past 2 seasons. However, Chelsea can still be happy that they managed to finally end our superlong run of undefeated matches. The sequence ended on a number of 109 matches, from the 22nd of September 2026 to the 30th of April 2028.

 

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Real Madrid are the team we face. They lost the 2022 and 2023 finals and are now back after a 4 years absence, still led by Kylian Mbappé upfront as the star man. We meet again centerback Huub Hendriksen, whom we sold to them at the beginning of the season.

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Euro 2028 squad

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Goalkeepers

Diogo Costa  | Luis Maximiano | Eugene Hanslimann

Leftbacks

Nuno Mendes | Guilherme Montóia

Rightbacks

Tomás Esteves | Pedro Sousa

Centerbacks

Rúben Dias | David Vinhas | Diogo Queirós | Gonçalo Inácio

Defensive midfielders

Florentino Luis | Vitor Ferreira

Central midfielders

Bruno Fernandes | Diogo Nascimento

Left wide playmakers

Bernardo Silva | Carlos Pinto

Right wingers

Diogo Dinis | Joelson Fernandes

Shadow strikers

João Felix | Gil Barbosa

Strikers

Fábio Silva | Gerson Júnior

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Little recap of how the 2nd half of the season has gone at Porto prior to the CL final:

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We managed to get the unbeaten league title again, after we'd failed to do it last year - and came just short of the 100% wins record (which we achieved 2 seasons ago). One thing this year we couldn't win was the League Cup, after losing the final on penalties to Sporting. First time we lost a domestic trophy in a while.

The fight for the 2nd place and respective Champions League slot, was quite fun, as you can see.

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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL 2027/2028 - FIRST HALF

Another year, another Champions League final. Can we make it 3 titles in a row? Let's head off to Old Trafford to figure out.

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A few changes compared to last year's starting lineup:

  • Last Summer's signing Conversano instead of Nuno Mendes on the left
  • Last Summer's signing Max Peterson replaced Huub Hendriksen at centerback - Hendriksen will be starting for the opposition
  • Daouda Akouokou makes the 11 instead of Dionathan who I've sold and now plays for Barcelona
  • Renato Busatto beats Eddie Salcedo to a starting slot. He's had a better season and Salcedo isn't fully fit

The rest are the same. You might notice Winter signings Patrick Denzel and JM Fernandez are not playing - they've been slightly disappointed and I trust Vitor Ferreira and Thiago Almada more at this point in time.

Onto Real Madrid:

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They're... not bad, eh. I've had my eyes on Prieto (MC) and Brondi (RB) for a while, they are astonishing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minute 13: Little mini-counter from us, passed back to Akouokou, he shoots from long.... easy for the keeper. This is the first shot of the match after 13 minutes. This isn't building up to be a classic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minute 22: Counter for us, Busatto wins a header, falls to Akouokou.... he runs free!!!! Tipped wide by Courtois!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Half-time:

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What a desperately poor match of football. We've limited Real to 0 shots, which is fantastic, but we've not done much neither. That run from Akouokou was the only chance of the match so far, but the Ivorian midfielder has seemed nervous on the pitch.

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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL 2027/2028 - SECOND HALF

 

 

Minute 51: Mbappe's corner... finds Ndidi at the back post!!! Saved by Diogo Costa!! This is Real's first shot, fairly dangerous.

 

 

 

Minute 65: Little throughball from Reinier to Akouokou... shoots from an angle!! Wide!

 

 

Minute 69: I sub off Busatto for Salcedo

 

 

Minute 74: Thiago Almada shoots a very long ball to free up Andrade!! The Mexican striker hits it!! Tipped wide by Courtois!! Andrade looks tired, he might be the Ballon d'Or but has had a mediocre season, time to sub him off for Alex

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minute 76: We regain the ball, falls to Salcedo, pings a little throughball for Reinier.... he's free...

 

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1-0!! GOAL FOR PORTO!! REINIER!! The Brazilian has had a far less convincing season than last year, but shows up at the right moment!! Has he given us the cup?

 

 

 

 

Minute 85: A very tired Thiago Almada is off for record signing Patrick Detzel....

 

 

 

 

Minute 86: Reinier gets the ball.... pings it to Salcedo... pings it to Detzel... he's free in the area!!!

 

 

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PASSED INTO THE NET!! 2-0!!! GOAL FOR PORTO!!! He has cost us 160 million euros but wasn't it worth it for this goal? Say his name, Patrick Detzel!!!

 

 

 

Minute 87: Long ball from Cacace... finds Vesi, Real could score!!! High!!!! Way above the bar!!

 

 

 

Minute 88: Another counter for Real, falls to Vesi again, he's free from an angle!! Tipped wide by Diogo Costa!

 

 

 

 

 

Minute 91: Real insist, they go down the right, Edouard carries the ball, passes it back to Huub Hendriksen...

 

 

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2-1!! GOAL FOR REAL!!!!!!!!!!! Oh no has Hendriksen come back to haunt us? The Belgian centerback, seems to be playing in midfield like I've taught him to, and has scored a screamer!! Is this Real back into the game or is it too late for them?

 

 

Minute 94: Brondi insists down the right, crosses towards Edouard, he heads it!! Straight to Diogo Costa.

AND THE REFEREE CALLS IT AS DIOGO COSTA HAS THE BALL IN HIS ARMS!! PORTO KEEP THE EUROPEAN TROPHY FOR A THIRD YEAR!!

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We've seen this little animation a few times now...

 

 

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A strange match, super dull at the beginning, came to life near the end. Eddie Salcedo's late performance out of the bench, with 2 assists, turned out to be the important bit, as too many of the other players seemed nervous and underperforming.

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We have now repeated Real Madrid's 2016-2018 streak of 3 straight European titles, whilst raising Porto's historical total to 5 (after 2004 and 1987).

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We have also been national champions the past 6 years, a new record, won the league without defeats 4 of those years, and have accumulated another handful of other minor domestic trophies.

 

I have decided this is finally the time to leave Porto. Although it has been a lot of fun to keep smashing everything the last few years, and keep on introducing new players to the squad, I'm running out of new goals here and it is time to try a new challenge. I will be continuing to be national team manager for the time being, but haven't 100% decided on the new club.

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Season review 2027/2028

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Top 5 players of the season:


1. Renato Busatto (AMC) - This was a very weird season in which Reinier and Javier Andrade, the 2 superstars of last season (with Andrade even winning the Ballon d'Or), ultimately had disappointing years and others stepped up in their absence. Therefore forward Busatto was quite possibly the best player of the year, joint top scorer with 24 goals, this time 7 of them being in the Champions League, and also obtaining a healthy 13 assists.

2. Alex (ML) - An absolutely bonkers debut season by the Brazilian winger who I had hired as an afterthought to be the backup to Javier Andrade. Although I kept the faith in the Mexican in the big games, specially late season when Alex's form dipped, Alex somehow managed to incredibly become joint top scorer (24 goals) and joint most assists (14).

3. Max Peterson (DC) - A superb first season for the club for the American centerback tasked with replacing Huub Hendriksen. The 2nd highest average rating out of the regulars who make up the strongest XI that competes in the Champions League (behind Busatto), he also scored 8 goals which is fantastic for a CB.

4. Silvio Lopez (AMC) - Although he faded in the 2nd half of the year, the Argentinian wonderkid had a great first full year for the club, after being out on loan to Union Berlin last year. He managed to get 19 goals and 9 assists and my staff think he has loads to improve yet.

5. Daouda Akouokou (MC, AMC) - The Ivorian mezzala claimed his place in the strongest XI this season already before I had sold Dionathan, who used play in this position instead. Had a particularly strong season in the Champions League in which he scored 5 goals.


Players out on loan:

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I tried to leave a wide array of talent at Porto for the following manager to play with, and build his squad to his liking. The most spectacular players in this list include:

Denilson (ML, AMC, ST) - Still yet to play for the club as I've just bought him in January and sent him back to his previous club, he is already rated 4.5 stars of CA on the back of a strong period of form.

Aleksa Milovanovic (DR) - The Serbian rightback was poor last year for the club, but is rated as one of the strongest prospects in his position in the world.

Fabrizio Pizzi (AMC, ST, MR) - An expensive signing 2 years ago (58M€) who hasn't quite paid off yet but is pretty talented.

Vaclav Mateju (AMC) - I picked him up almost on a free this season and he's been tearing it apart at Sevilla.

António Martins (ML, MC) - A youth academy prospect that I was planning to introduce to the senior squad next season had I stayed.

Faustino Sousa (ST, AMC) - Another youth academy graduate that was going to make the senior squad next year. I capped him recently for Portugal but he didn't make the Euros squad.

Sandro Korosec (DM, MC) - Homesick midfielder who asked for a transfer, I sent him on loan temporarily to try to make him forget about it, he has world class potential.

 

And finally, as if all of these players weren't enough, I have already lined up the following transfer to join the club:

Aleksandar Nalic (ST, AMR) - I paid a silly 41M€ but I genuinely think he's going to be one of the best forwards in the world.


Trophy cabinet, Porto, 2020-2028:

  • UEFA Champions League x3 (2026, 2027, 2008)
  • UEFA Supercup x2 (2026, 2027)
  • Primeira Liga x6 (2023, 2024, 2025, 2026, 2027, 2028)
  • Portuguese Cup x5 (2024, 2025, 2026, 2027, 2028)
  • League Cup x5 (2021, 2024, 2025, 2026, 2027)
  • Portuguese Supercup x5 (2023, 2024, 2025, 2026, 2027)

Other landmarks

  • Undefeated Portuguese champion 3 times, won every single match in the league 1 time
  • Undefeated in all competitions for 109 consecutive matches
  • Ballon d'Or for Javier Andrade (2027)
  • Champions League runner-up 2025 (lost to Man Utd)
  • Biggest ever win in a Champions League final (7-0 win over Bayern, 2026)
  • Broke several times the record for most expensive sale ever (Dionathan, 200M€) and most expensive signing ever (Patrick Detzel, 160M€)

Negative landmarks

  • Came only 2nd in the league the first 2 seasons
  • No trophies in the 2nd season (2022)
  • Heavy defeats to Benfica 0-6 and 0-7 the first 2 seasons
  • Poor performance in the 2025 Club World Cup (lost to Man City in quarter-finals)

 

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The attention now turns to Euro 2028 and here's the pre-tournament friendly matches:

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All good, although we were a little better against Ukraine than Switzerland - the Swiss played in a very deep defensive 5-4-1 that frustrated us until minute 80. Winger Joelson Fernandes really looked good with 3 goals in 2 matches here.

The fixture list for the Euros now reads:

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I think for this tournament I'll keep on completely rotating the side, changing all 10 outfield players every single match, due to tiredness. This is what I do at club side anyway. So the plan is to use the 2nd XI against Iceland and the Czechs, and the 1st XI against England. Let's see how it goes...

Edited by noikeee
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2 minutes ago, john1 said:

No surprise to see you left Porto :D I wonder who the next manager is?

 

Any plans on FM22?

I might not even buy FM22 at first, even if I always seem to cave in. I have a few busy months scheduled in the near future so who knows if there'll even be time to play.

The plan is for this career now to keep on going, despite no longer being at Porto, but I'll reveal more if and when things happen.

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Euro 2028 Group Stage

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We kicked off with a good but not great match against Iceland. We dominated and won deservedly, with 2 goals from the kids Gerson Junior (Juventus ST) and Gil Barbosa (Sporting AMC). Alright performance.

 

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Then against England it was looking good too. We lost Fabio Silva to injury (nothing serious, he'll return soon) so had to bring in Gerson Junior and he scored again right before the break. We were managing the 1-0 lead to the end when in the dying seconds of the match, they drew in a corner. Uh-oh.

 

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So up against the Czechs we were already almost as good as qualified, given 3rd place teams go through, so I risked going with the second XI again. It started really poorly as we went a goal behind, but by half-time we were winning 3-1, Porto academy graduate Carlos Pinto getting 2 goals (this is incredibly rare, he almost never scored for me at Porto, one of the reasons why I sold him to Chelsea), and also RB Leizpig AMC Diogo Nascimento getting a beautiful goal.

However our defense just looked absolutely awful this match, and although Gerson Junior scored yet again (3 goals in 3 matches at the Euros!!), they scored another 2, and on goal difference we ended up losing 1st place in the group to England.

 

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I didn't care too much about coming 2nd here, until I saw the draw for the next round...

 

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We'll play the hosts, Spain!! It's actually looking like a really good path afterwards as we'd meet the winner of Norway-Scotland in the quarters, but oh boy, tough match next...

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Euro 2028 Round of 16

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Wow!! What a match!! We went a goal down as soon as Spain attempted their first shot, and minutes later they were 2-0 up at home, we were in big trouble. It looked like we were getting cornered in our own area a little too often, so I did something I very rarely do which is a tactical change, I slightly increased the defensive line which I play deeper for Portugal than at club level. I don't know if it was this change that did anything, but by half-time we had equalized, Fabio Silva's first goal of the competition followed by David Vinhas' header in a corner; and in the 2nd half we turned the match around, first a wonderful shot to the top corner from DLP Florentino Luis, then a very late throughball from Joelson to Fabio Silva to make it 4-2. Huge, huge win.

 

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Norway are next, and I'm very confused how to best rotate the squad to get the best out of everyone. I'm sorry SI but national team tournaments are just absolutely ****ed in FM, there are no legs to do anything, we need to make extreme squad rotation. I don't want to play a weakened side in the final (if we make it there), so I'm thinking, rest half the players in the quarters, rest the other half in the semifinals?

 

Edited by noikeee
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Euro 2028 quarter-finals

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Oh no!!! It's a disaster!!

It looked like it was going to be a pretty easy match when we got a penalty kick in minute 1, but Bernardo Silva squandered it. Then we kept on having more shots but it was Norway to go a goal up, Evjen scoring a beauty. We switched some players at halftime, subbed in Bruno Fernandes assisted Gerson Junior, but Norway soon after scored again.

We were sleepwalking into going out of the Euros, when we were thrown a lifeline already in injury time - another beautiful assist by Bruno Fernandes for Joelson. Our defenders were getting tired however, and increasingly struggling to control forward Emil Ceide. The worst thing is in the beginning of extra time, Gil Barbosa was sent off and we were soon down to 10. And sure enough, 5 minutes before the match would've gone to penalties, Ceide scored again. We are out of the Euros in shocking fashion.

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Squad review - Euro 2028

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Top 5 players:

1. Gerson Junior (ST) - The Juventus forward did his best with one goal in each of his 4 appearances. Was meant to be Fabio Silva's alternate but ended up being our top scorer.

2. Bruno Fernandes (MC, AMC) - Somehow managed to get 4 assists in just 2 starts and 2 appearances off the bench.

3. Fabio Silva (ST) - Our best player on paper and he did perform like a star, his match against Spain with 2 goals was special.

4. Joelson Fernandes (MR) - A level of performance above Diogo Dinis who was the starter on paper. Looked electric in the pre-tournament friendlies, and followed it up in Spain with 1 goal and 3 assists.

5. Carlos Pinto (ML) - The Porto academy graduate wasn't planned to have much of a role, but the brilliant performance against the Czechs with 2 goals got him the highest average rating out of the squad in the competition.

 

Rest of the tournament:

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Erling Haaland's Norway nearly went all the way, as they knocked out the Netherlands after they beat us, but ultimately Kylian Mbappe's France prevailed.

 

 

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It looks like somehow I might've just narrowly avoided the sack. I guess I have the Olympic Games to plan for next.

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2028 Olympic Games squad

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Goalkeepers

Eugene Hanslimann | João Fazenda

Defenders

Ruben Dias (overage) | Nelson Mário | Rodrigo Leão | Nuno Mendes (overage) | Edi Indjai | João Salvador

Midfielders

Pedro Sousa | Diogo Bomba | Gil Barbosa | António Martins

Forwards

Diogo Dinis | António Fortes | João Félix (overage) | Faustino Sousa | Saliú Mendy | Gerson Júnior

 

Fixtures

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We should be able to navigate this group, but I'm very uncomfortable with the super short squad we take to this tournament....

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Olympics 2028 group stage

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The first match against Mexico went great, fine start to the competition. However we lost Porto forward Faustino Sousa to injury...

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... Which thankfully meant Pedro Machado could still be called up in his place.

 

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We struggled a bit more against China. Albeit we dominated all match long, the ball wouldn't get into the back of the net. Finally in minute 88 we did it. Note that by now I've decided to do a little tactical switch and play a double mezzala. I don't think the AF-SS duo was working so I got rid of the shadow striker and added a 2nd mezzala:

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Against Mali we were already qualified, but still smashed them. The player that got called up to the squad very late, Pedro Machado, proved surprisingly a great "signing" as he got a goal and 2 assists.

 

This meant we easily topped the group...

 

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Setting up a quarter-final against the US. If we're through, it's looking like a superdifficult match next though, likely against Brazil.

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Olympics 2028 quarter-finals

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Very easy. We got 2 goals early and then focused how best to manage our legs, thinking already of the semi-final.

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Which will be a much tougher match than any we've played yet.

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Olympics 2028 semi-final

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Against an all-star Brazilian team which included Michel, Sávio and Dionathan (all former Porto players) and Alex (still at Porto), we started on the back foot, then really got on the back foot when Pedro Sousa got sent off.

Inexplicably, we thrived with 10 men. We opened the score with a corner, then made it 2 with a penalty then 3 in a counter. Dionathan clawed one back for Brazil but we immediately hit back again. A superb performance by the 10 remaining men, specially João Félix, and we have a medal in the bag.

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France follows. Can we go for gold or will it be silver?

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Olympics 2028 final

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It's gold!!! Finally I don't disappoint completely at international level! We opened up the match scarily well, going 3-0 up, only for France to claw 2 goals back and put us under pressure all match long, even hitting the bar. But we held on and brought the gold medal home.

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Squad review - Olympics 2028

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Top 5 players:

1. João Felix (ML) - Proved to be the correct choice as an overage player, as he teared this tournament apart, playing mostly as wide playmaker on the left. 5 goals, 2 assists, 3 man of the match awards, 7.67 ratings.

2. Pedro Machado (MC) - Wasn't supposed to be at the Olympics but Faustino Sousa's injury gave him the chance, and he was magnificent with 4 assists, 1 goal and 7.68 ratings.

3. Gerson Júnior (ST) - Followed his good Euros with 3 goals in the Olympics group stage, plus also 2 assists.

4. Diogo Dinis (MR) - Increasingly one of the stars of the senior national team, Diogo showed flashes of his world class ability in this tournament with 2 goals, 2 assists, and a few penalty kicks he won for us.

5. António Martins (MC) - Perhaps overage defenders Ruben Dias and Nuno Mendes were more critical to this tournament's success, but I want to put in a word for the Porto academy graduate, who's just been sold by the club to Milan. He got 2 goals and 1 assist and is starting to show his talent.

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