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Jogo Bonito

FM19 - SLB (Benfica) - High flying Eagles (Águias)

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Posted (edited)

SLB (Benfica)

262100562_SLBheader.thumb.png.66e8a056df6fe182dc7e29c937a8d119.png

 

History

The club was founded in 1904, under the name of Sport Lisboa; the same year, they merged with Grupo Sport Benfica and changed their name to Sport Lisboa e Benfica. Here is the team photo from 1904. Not many of them are still in my first team squad for this FM19 career update...

benfica_1904.jpg.8174d1c6708730fcd2fcfdcc1b2a3937.jpg

Basic facts

Founded: 1904 
Country: Portugal 
City: Lisbon

Main trophies

Primeira Liga: 37
Taça de Portugal: 28
European Cup: 2

 

Edited by Jogo Bonito

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Aims of the save

My aim for this save is to be competitive in the Portuguese league and to make a push for some sort of European trophy

The plan is to convert the squad in to a mainly Portuguese-speaking powerhouse, using as many Portuguese & Brazilian players as possible

I'll be looking to integrate younger players wherever I can, but it's not a bold claim to use 'youth only'

I'll also consider bringing back ex-SLB players (to the team or the staff)

Essential players in the squad will only be sold if their buy-out clause is met in full

 

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2 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

My aim for this save is to be competitive in the Portuguese league and to make a push for some sort of European trophy

You'll have to do more than just that to keep your job :D 

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Just now, kingjericho said:

You'll have to do more than just that to keep your job :D 

Haha, I know! But it's too early to claim I will win the league in season 1 :lol:

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SLB - Season 1

I set pre-season up with four tough friendlies in Istanbul against decent Turkish sides

Unfortunately, some idiot in the office forced a trip to Poland in to the middle of it - and as an affiliate club it couldn't be cancelled

After the second exit from Turkey, I won the final three fixtures back on Portuguese soil to round off a very promising pre-season

August also went well, with progress from two rounds of Champions League qualifiers earning a place in the Group Stage

The league campaign got off to the start that any new SLB manager would need - maximum points from two easier games

1059583958_SLB_SeniorFixtures1.1.thumb.png.fff85305f8b5c77a59055d93e176072f.png

September brought the first difficult domestic test as FC Porto rolled in to town

I'd be expected to win that at home, but after being 3-0 down in the first half I had to be happy to scramble a 3-3 draw

I followed that up with another league win, and then a surprisingly easy 2-0 win over Bayern in my Champions League group opener

But I dropped more points in the league as Vitoria Guimaraes delivered my first league defeat of the campaign

At this stage they were flying - six straight league wins saw them sitting in 2nd behind FC Porto on goal difference (with my side 3rd)  

October and November saw a consistent pattern of results emerging with wins in all domestic league and cup fixtures

At the same time, all Champions League home games were being won - and all away games were being lost

2122918939_SLB_SeniorFixtures1.2.thumb.png.038f44b42daa372755bd6713359f9cae.png

December came along, and buoyed by two league wins to open the month, I faced PSV in Lisbon in the final Champions League group game

By this stage I was 3rd in the group, but home to the weakest team (Bayern travelled to Valencia)

A resounding 4-0  win for my side despatched PSV emphatically, and to my delight the game in Spain ended 0-0 and saw me claim top spot from nowhere

This was not only a surprise to me, but it also pushed Bayern out of the competition

Unfortunately my next two league games after PSV saw me lose meekly to struggling Boavista and drawing 0-0 at home to Braga

January went better, and I won every game played in league and cup - other than a penalty loss to FCP in the League Cup Final (ouch)

1575386229_SLB_SeniorFixtures1.3.thumb.png.6a19c9aa59a00de69e727f48489721a5.png

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February was another positive month, and included a fine 2-1 win away to PSG in the first leg of the CL knockout stage

However there is one red mark showing in that month - and it was a crucial one with a 1-0 loss to table-toppers FC Porto

This was a game I really couldn't afford to lose, and I knew then my chances of jumping from 2nd to 1st were very slim

However, March was a perfect month as I kept the pressure on the leaders and hammered Sporting in the SF first leg of the Taca de Portugal

The best result however was being able to see off PSG in Europe with a 2-1 home win in the return leg keeping me in the Champions League

1510134033_SLB_SeniorFixtures1.4.thumb.png.d7236fabfacb81c567cde3304476aea6.png

April saw four more wins from four league games, but the Champions League dream was ended at the QF stage against Man Utd

I was 2-0 up in the home game against them, but they fought back to draw 2-2 with 10-men

In the second leg at Old Trafford they had another red card early on, but I could only get a 1-1 draw and went out on away goals

I booked my place in the Taca de Portugal final, with a 0-0 home draw with Sporting being good enough

And my fine run of league form continued with another four straight league wins (making 13 in total) to round off the league season well

Unfortunately for me, FC Porto also didn't drop a point in that same 13-match period, and won the league by two points

I was able to finally lift a trophy though, winning the cup final in convincing fashion against Rio Ave

539350334_SLB_SeniorFixtures1.5.thumb.png.181c3cefc160a156351846982b90aa3e.png

Here is the final league table, and although 2nd wasn't great, I don't think I could have done much more in gaining 89 points

At least I wasn't Sporting - our big Lisbon rivals had been way off the pace all season and couldn't break in to the top six so will miss out on Europe

2016924321_PortuguesePremierLeague_OverviewStages.thumb.png.f9e177c9671508a6a0b8405239df3c74.png

Financially things were looking good, as the Champions League run had done wonders for the bank balance

235846588_SLBprogress1.1.thumb.png.2ec59b1b4de7ba40bcab6c7878d9fc40.png

2131753453_SLBseason1review.thumb.png.e39d1a570d021ea4deb00a3a0c3dc5d5.png

And here are the player stats across all competitions

For me, the stand out players were Alex Grimaldo, Joao Felix, Pizzi and Gustavo

Grimaldo made an amazing amount of assists as a wing-back in a flat back four (he only played 32 of 60 games as he suffered a lengthy injury)

Felix came on strong in the second half of the season with plenty of goals playing just behind the striker(s)

Pizzi was a regular source of goals and assists, many goals coming from long range

Gustavo, a £3.7m signing from Corinthians started the season superbly - and still managed 24 goals despite missing a chunk of the season injured

1989536439_SLB_PlayersPlayers1.1.thumb.png.3e3abc52c27c768a246533491e60be33.png

1498134631_SLB_PlayersPlayers1.2.thumb.png.c6b09f0ad9bfb0c811c4fd0fff150a13.png

I can't agree with the fans award going to Andre Almeida, as Grimaldo should have won this by a country mile

772583516_SLBseason1awards.thumb.png.9d495882db35afde26e33745d7257b4f.png

And whilst it was disappointing not to win the league, I have to hand it to FC Porto for a fantastic season

Not only did they do a domestic treble, they also got to the Champions League Final too (losing 3-0 to Liverpool)

1790750825_FCPtrebleinseason1.thumb.png.2b852f949ad08f80d21cae4631519026.png

That's a rapid review of season 1 as I had already finished the season before deciding to create this thread

Next up will be a preview of the new campaign, a review of pre-season, and lots of transfer talk...

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I should be able to do that when I am next on FM yeah. I hope you're enjoying SLB too.

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Brilliant season overall :thup: Superb run in the Champions League! And what a weird looking tactic :D 

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Caught up with this thread, good start and will be following your progress. Hopefully you can keep hold of Felix a while longer.

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Thanks for the comments. Having visited the stadium now, I'm very keen to crack on with pre-season and to see what the second year brings :cool:

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Posted (edited)

SLB - Season 2 (part 1)

So after a decent first season, the challenge was on to improve in the second term

I had a fairly clear plan where I wanted to go with the squad, but there was plenty to do ahead of the recruiting stage

This was highlighted by the number of loan players returning to the club at the end of the first season

A couple of them (Luka Jovic and Raul Jimenez) were a major part of my plans for the new season as their loan clubs didn't take up options to buy

Most of the rest were overpaid and unwanted, whilst a small number of younger players would be kept with an eye to the future

1717960934_SLBloanplayersreturningafterseason1.thumb.png.ee514a1b302b67e1317b715cb8c00108.png

One of my vows in this career is not to sell key players unless their release clauses are met in full

The easiest way to achieve success is by keeping the best players at the club, and I'm not desperate for cash

However, there are clubs on the planet who are desperate - step forward PSG

After refusing offers of around £30m for my star player (left-back Alex Grimaldo), they remained keen

The player became unsettled when I refused to sell - but seemed happy when I said he could go if they met his release clause of £54m

However, I out-smarted the French club, telling them they must pay £53m upfront + 25% of any future fee if they wanted a deal

I also told them they could only have him once I had signed his replacement (the first time I had ever implemented such a clause in FM)

They'd have been better off paying £54m with no clauses, but their business acumen was lacking and they agreed to my terms of sale

Some of the fee (and future profit) would go to Barcelona, but it's a reasonable deal and absolutely smashed the club record fee received

1249560154_AlexGrimaldosale.thumb.png.2efebec62e1a269546b8d4007e4db5a5.png

1723859808_AlexGrimaldoisrecordsale.thumb.png.5da5ae5fb128ccb3fef0000ba9f95e51.png

I'd already pinpointed a couple of potential replacements for Alex during the above negotiations

It would have been easy to give the shirt to Yuri Ribeiro and sign a more limited Portuguese player to compete with him

But in the end, I decided to go and grab the player I wanted and felt could replicate the role performed by the departing Spaniard

And that therefore heralded the arrival of the promising Brazilian left-back Renan Lodi for a £16m fee and sensible wages

1360270913_RenanLodisigns.thumb.png.14bc629c6d3eb4c40fad849108938395.png

I mentioned I was excited about the return of Jovic, but unfortunately there were a host of clubs ready to make instant offers for him

Again, I insisted that he would be going nowhere unless his full release clause was met - and FC Bayern immediately lodged their bid of £40.5m

1823028706_JovicreleaseclausemetbyBayern.thumb.png.9d10acc3db239c9785c622c26b56c89c.png

That was followed up by matching bids from Liverpool and my friends at PSG

2008457089_Jovictransferoffers.thumb.png.cea02ee1613f44405e39f21e5a5e6e18.png

I'd have preferred the player to reject these clubs, but knew that was unlikely 

Unsurprisingly he soon agreed terms - but more surprisingly he chose PSG over the other two offers

1922786742_LukaJovicsale.thumb.png.84be06f7e623d32544eb7c66198c3d01.png

So there you go, before I'd even started the clear out of the unwanted loan returnees, I'd lost two players I considered crucial to my plans

I'd raked in over £90m from the pair, but didn't need to spend much of that and I was relatively cautious in my recruitment

Young Polish left-back Tymoteusz Puchacz and ex-SLB youngster Nelson Monte were signed for our B-Team for a combined £325k

The £4.9m signing of Caio from UAE club Al-Ain was pre-arranged from before I took over

He's a reasonably talented Brazilian winger, but I will only use one winger at the most in my tactic and I had at least three already

In view of this, he was sent straight back to them on loan for the season

Jose Sa was signed from FC Porto to be back-up goalkeeper as he is Portuguese and my 2nd and 3rd choices weren't in my long-term plans

And finally, I decided that with club captain and team leader Jardel now 33 and beginning to decline, I should sign a back-up central defender

I'd have liked to sign a Portuguese player like Diogo Leite from FCP - and actually offered to pay his £22.5m release fee

However, the player wasn't interested in joining a rival club and so again I found a Portuguese-speaking solution of Brazilian origin

This was in the form of ex-Barcelona man Marlon, a signing wrapped up for a fairly modest £7.5m fee to Sassuolo in Italy 

1259804509_SLBTransferHistory2.1.thumb.png.f2ae8169920a16b2de9db6dee9ab4514.png

Whilst doing these deals, I'd also been working on keeping the wage bill down with loan-out offers on plenty of surplus players

These were mainly done with full wage contributions being made by their temporary clubs

Although not everybody found new homes, the following ones did - and this saved me over £200k p/w in unwanted salaries 

336805722_SLBLoans2.1.thumb.png.1608a7586afa61dd87e155f7fdda2918.png

By now, the club was in a seriously healthy position, and at 1st August the club balance was up to more than £94 million

I still had nearly £74m to spend after my signings were finished, and had more than £400k p/w left of my £1 million p/w salary budget

2096738529_SLBclubstatus2.0.thumb.png.fb64926a60ab2aea4ef6a97bf3b62dab.png

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My first-team squad is purposely limited to 23 men, as I like to keep everyone hungry and involved when possible

I've moved seven players (shown in red) to the first-team squad for the purpose of this photo

These are the ones that are knocking on the door of the first-team squad, and ready to step in if needed 

I'm attempting to renew the contracts of my key players as and when I can, especially the younger Portuguese players

The salary of Joao Felix looks particularly ridiculous at just £4.1k p/w until 2023, but he has a £108m release clause in that contract already

Bayern are already interested in him, but unless they pay that sum in full, he will be with SLB for another four years

I know that might make him unhappy, but he'll have to live with that if this situation arises

You will also notice there are no loan men in the squad, and this was another commitment I wanted to make

There is one loan player on the books. but he is a teenager nowhere near the first team (arranged before I took over)

1429470918_SLBsquad2.1.thumb.png.f53c97a3d5de8b0fe5777e7508411029.png

1615815413_SLBsquad2.2.thumb.png.5afe46d853c694bd99eff328537433a6.png

2009352845_SLBsquad2.3.thumb.png.ec4ef053e4c61d790c7e827441901361.png

Away from the negotiating table, there were of course some pre-season fixtures to manage

My tour of Spain was quite productive, with just a poor 10-minute spell in Seville going badly

1522380094_SLBSeniorFixtures2.0.thumb.png.00837b402014ca26f40b391535e3633a.png

The main tactic I plan to use in the second season is as shown below

Last year's primary tactic (see team of the year image above) will be my second one - with a right-winger instead of a second striker

When using that one, I will usually shift Felix a touch to the left and put the lone striker central

In Europe (or against FC Porto), I may decide to go with a DM to protect the defence a little bit more

489161539_SLBtactics2.1.thumb.png.97788450da2f49d1e0d9d46a8abfae77.png

My next game is the first serious one of the new campaign, as I prepare to meet title-favourites FC Porto for the Supertaca

The trophy itself doesn't mean much to me, but I don't really want them gaining confidence from winning it

Anyway, it's time to bring it on and see what season 2 has in store. More to follow...

Edited by Jogo Bonito

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Good start - will be following your push for European dominance!

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Nice update! Interesting way of doing things, I like it.

I signed Nelso Monte as well for my Parma save, but if it were not for his injury upon arrival, he would have cemented his place in my team instead of leaving after one season.

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Great update mate. 

PSG love a nice bargain. 

A word of warning in regards to contract renewal. 

I've found agents demand lower release clauses when renewing. 

Might happen if you try to renew Joao Felixs contract. 

In my Sporting save Bruno Fernández had a 100m clause when I renewed in an attempt to ward of interest it was limited to 42 which I ultimately had to sell him for. 

Was same with Raphinha. 

So be wary

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Decent transfers dealings on Jovic and Alex Grimaldo :thup:  Thought you would have kept Jovic :D

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Great first season, unlucky not to win more!

Unlucky to lose Jovic, I've had plenty of saves where he stays at Benfica, depends on the season he has at Frankfurt I suppose. Either way though, you're doing sterling work in the market so well done. This is inspiring me to do something similar during the off season IRL.

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16 hours ago, warlock said:

Good start - will be following your push for European dominance!

Thanks for that, dominance is optimistic but we will see in time!

9 hours ago, quee said:

Nice update! Interesting way of doing things, I like it. I signed Nelso Monte as well for my Parma save, but if it were not for his injury upon arrival, he would have cemented his place in my team instead of leaving after one season.

Cheers, appreciated. Monte might make the grade for me, but I'm not expecting much of an impact this season. His career progress will depend on his form in the U23 or B-team.

5 hours ago, lblanc said:

Great update mate. PSG love a nice bargain. A word of warning in regards to contract renewal. I've found agents demand lower release clauses when renewing. Might happen if you try to renew Joao Felixs contract. In my Sporting save Bruno Fernández had a 100m clause when I renewed in an attempt to ward of interest it was limited to 42 which I ultimately had to sell him for. Was same with Raphinha. So be wary.

Thanks for your comments! I totally agree about new contracts and release clauses, so that's why Felix will have to be 'happy' until 2023 on his ridiculously low wage of £4,100 per week :lol:

1 hour ago, john1 said:

Decent transfers dealings on Jovic and Alex Grimaldo :thup:  Thought you would have kept Jovic :D

Thanks very much. I would have preferred to keep them both (especially Jovic as I haven't ever managed him myself). Unfortunately I was powerless as their release clauses were met in full. Anything less and the key players will be forced to stay though, however unhappy they may become!

1 hour ago, danmcconnell1 said:

Great first season, unlucky not to win more!

Unlucky to lose Jovic, I've had plenty of saves where he stays at Benfica, depends on the season he has at Frankfurt I suppose. Either way though, you're doing sterling work in the market so well done. This is inspiring me to do something similar during the off season IRL.

I really appreciate your comments, thanks. I'd expected to lose Jovic all season but bizarrely Frankfurt never triggered their cheap option to buy. Having got him back, I was gutted to lose him so soon but I feel I have adequate strikers and attacking midfield options, and the cash in the bank puts is in a good position to evolve.

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Posted (edited)

SLB - Season 2 (part 2)

With an impressive pre-season behind us, we entered the second term in a positive frame of mind

The board had fairly strong ambitions too, so there was still plenty of pressure on us to meet the season's objectives

As mentioned before, financially we were doing very well as a result of the funds bought in by Grimaldo and Jovic sales

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Amongst the staffing improvements was the return of the man shown below, Bruno Lage

Bruno had been manager of the club before they appointed me, and was a hugely admired man that everybody was happy to welcome back

Since his return, we have also re-appointed another SLB hero, as Nuno Gomes came back as the new HOYD

Helena Costa (scout) has also been taken on this year, whilst we added some other interesting names to the backroom team last year too

That list includes Andre Villas-Boas, Pauleta and Finidi George (scouts) plus ex-Spurs winger Jose Dominguez and Ricardo Carvalho (U19 coaches)

321832568_BrunoLagereturns.thumb.png.10bb9cbc523ef3ca9afbd9541616c64f.png

Although we thought our transfer business was complete at the end of pre-season, Inter Milan then made a loan offer for midfielder Pizzi

He had been very impressive in the first season, so even when they offered £20m we rejected their bid without hesitation

However, after seeing his £40m release clause, we gave them the option to buy at £39.5m plus future clauses

Like PSG before them, their financial gurus aren't very smart and they agreed to our terms of sale

Instead of just paying the full release clause outright, they now risk having to pay significantly more to SLB - but each to their own

Rather than making any new signings, we simply promoted Alfa Semedo and Pepe to the senior ranks as they both have potential 

551312172_Pizzisale.thumb.png.f81d2eb74d3b2850c8a86dd84ee6d97a.png

As you can see below, we were big movers in the Portuguese transfer market

It wasn't because of flashing the cash though, it was noteworthy because of the money coming back in to the club from sales 

980020632_Portuguesetransferroundup.thumb.png.4282b8602b7fd48ac65f613a84491144.png

During this period, there had also been plenty of interest in our hottest property, young Joao Felix

Munich giants FC Bayern were the most aggressive suitor, but he was going nowhere unless they met his £108m release clause

My repeated rejections did make him unhappy, but he was on a contract until 2023 so we held a very strong hand

He settled down again when the transfer window closed, realising he had to focus on his football again here

535813208_JoaoFelixsettostay.thumb.png.5a6339406667738dfb40ee730aaf1fcc.png

However, when he came and asked for a new contract, we had a dilemma

Paid just £4.1k per week, he was worth much more than that, but we were worried about his release clause on a new deal

Luckily, when he opened talks asking for just under £40k per week, we offered far less and locked in a higher £120m release clause

We negotiated back and forth on the wage, eventually agreeing £32k per week, and the deal was done to tie him down until 2024

So that was a pleasant outcome, as we had added a year to his contract and increased the release clause value

2023747207_JoaoFelixnewcontract.thumb.png.557dbe9e90906d623cb09899640e479f.png

On the pitch, things have going reasonably well

The defeat to bogey side Vitoria Guimaraes was clearly a bad one as we paid the price for chasing the game at 2-1 by conceding two more late goals

Other than that, the league form has been good - particularly defensively - but we trail FCP & Sporting as we are always one game behind

The reason for that is our participation in European qualifying rounds, where we did enough to see off Sturm Graz and Besiktas

The group stage saw us up against AC Milan, PSG again (with Grimaldo and Jovic) and somehow Bremen-based SV Werder of Germany

The opening draw against the Germans was disappointing, and with Milan winning their first three, we will need to edge out PSG to qualify

1662645937_SLB_SeniorFixtures2.1.thumb.png.4dedf32899f265200cb21d3db2778926.png

Here is how we sit at the end of October, well-placed in the league and seriously healthy on the financial front

We do still have a massive unspent transfer kitty of £120m, and we are only spending half of our £1.1m per week wage budget

Raul Jimenez has been impressive on his return from loan, whilst new signing Renan Lodi has been a revelation at left wing-back

691074828_SLBprogress2.1.thumb.png.b3cbfac63de4fc5bacf202503ac9d626.png

Edited by Jogo Bonito

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SLB - Season 2 (part 3)

November saw us play five games, with two in Europe, two in the league and one domestic cup tie

Unfortunately we couldn't beat PSG at home in a must-win Champions League game, although faint hopes were kept alive with a win in Germany

In the league, Rio Ave were hammered and a brace from the in-form Raul Jimenez saw off Sporting in the Lisbon derby

So whilst league form was good and progress was made in the Taca de Portugal, qualification in Europe was looking unlikely by now

December started off with a disappointing home stalemate against Braga in the league, but two wins followed that up

And then it was time for the final round of group fixtures in the Champions League as leaders AC Milan rolled in to town

The night couldn't have gone much better as we hammered the Italians 4-1 with a great display of attacking football

But our hopes were dashed on discovering that PSG had edged out whipping boys SV Werder with a 1-0 win (Mbappe after 84 minutes)

That saw us finish third in the group, which put us in to the Europa League (drawn against Fenerbahce)

Perhaps the disappointment of this was to blame for a poor show at Arouca next time out (scrambling a point in stoppage time)

But we bounced back with a cup win away to Braga, before hosting league-leaders FC Porto in a top-of-the table clash

Twice we took the lead in an entertaining battle only to be pegged back to 2-2 at the interval 

As fears of a blown chance were growing, we fortunately managed to score again after the break and held on for a massive 3-2 win to go top

This was followed up with another away win over Lisbon rivals Sporting in the League Cup, as we finished the calendar year on a high 

1466441776_SLB_SeniorFixtures2.2.thumb.png.d4439ee4866a6e5288d2ab876ed8286a.png

The final table in Champions League Group G - home draws against SV Werder and PSG being the reason we failed to qualify

664200090_EuropeanChampionsCupOverviewStages2.0.thumb.png.9b675aa7a906d58b0e8dab6f19dd604e.png

As you can see below, we end the year top in the league, and still in a very healthy financial position

The winter transfer window is more likely to see sales rather than purchases (so far this season we have spent £30m and recouped £137m)

The development of our youngsters below first team level gives confidence that our plan to become largely HGC will not slow down our overall progress

751376791_SLBprogress2.2.thumb.png.38fb70bca19706d8edf9de52f1f12191.png

And finally, another hero of Benfica has re- joined the staff - something we will do wherever possible and worthwhile

The latest man to benefit from this policy is freshly retired SLB goal-scoring machine Oscar Cardozo, who will take on a role as U19 coach

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Cardozo.thumb.png.7b5113751bcc4958a198b5961af1298b.png

 

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2 hours ago, Jogo Bonito said:

we finished the calendar year on a high 

That's a great run of results. Shame about the draws costing you in the Champion's League, but top of the league with a game in hand is a good position to be in :thup:.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks @warlock

This season is slightly better in the Portuguese league, and slightly worse in Europe. But I'm happy enough right now, and if I can make more progress in the Europa League the board should stay happy.

SLB - Season 2 (part 4)

Just a short one-month update here, because there was plenty of transfer activity and a second trophy of the season has been lifted...

As the below results show, it's been a faultless month on the pitch with three wins in the league and progress in the Taca de Portugal

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Plus we edged out FC Porto to lift aloft the League Cup trophy

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So far, that's two domestic cups won this season, with the possibility of grabbing one more

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Our perfect month sees us still top of the league, and making even more progress on the financial front as more deadwood has been offloaded

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Incoming transfers

The first signing of the window saw the return of ex-SLB youngster Tiago Dias for a bargain £200k fee

The Portuguese winger is Lisbon-born and already has HGC status, he will join the U23 group 

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Next in was ex-Sporting player Rafael Leao who arrives for a modest £2.8m from LOSC in France

The Portuguese forward is probably one for next season, but may get some pitch time when he recovers from injury 

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The third arrival was promising Ecuadorian winger Ivan Angulo for a fee of £400k (release clause) and he also joins the U23 group

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And the last signing was the very highly-rated Brazilian left-back Luan Candido for a fee of £1.3m from Cruzeiro (loaned back until the summer)

The teenager has been tipped as the next Roberto Carlos by some, and will also join the U23 squad as he is definitely 'one for the future'

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Outgoing transfers

Argentinian winger Franco Cervi is a very good player, as shown by his stats below from limited game time this season

However in my largely winger-free formations he has struggled to get opportunities in the last two years

Occasionally used as a makeshift left wing-back, he was a useful squad man - but as a non-Portuguese he was not critical to my plans

As such, we agreed a loan deal with Shanggang in China that includes a loan fee, 100% wage, and mandatory £12m fee after 20 games 

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We have also been able to offload another non-Portuguese of reasonable ability and value with Cerro Porteno paying £6m for Filip Krovinovic

The Croatian midfielder had never seen any pitch time during my spell, so can hopefully make an impression elsewhere

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And finally, we managed to offload unwanted Swiss striker Haris Seferovic for £6m to LOSC - another who had never played a game for me

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This means that yet again we recouped far more than we spent, and we have also reduced the numbers and wage bill still further

Talking of numbers and wages, we also saw new loan deals done for a number of other players still not needed at the club

This included the likes of Andre Carrillo, Lisandro Lopes, Caio, Christian Arango and Oscar Benitez (he is being sold for £1.5m in the summer)

The club is saving a massive amount of cash each week due to my diligence on getting all these players out, as you can see from the below list 

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And this mini update ends on a 'what might have been' moment...

This was a deal my heart really wanted to do on deadline day as I would love to manage Moise Kean for the first time ever

However, after Leao arrived and interest in Raul Jiminez from Sevilla came to nothing, was he really needed?

Eventually my head reminded me we just didn't need the exciting Italian just yet, and the plug was pulled (for now at least)

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As we stand, this leaves just three men in the first-team squad of 25 that are not from either Portugal or Brazil

Mile Svilar (Belgian), Donny van de Beek (Dutch) and Raul Jimenez (Mexican) are all fluent in Portuguese and doing very well

But the quest is to have an entire squad of natural Portuguese speakers, with the majority from Portugal and HGC

This was one of my long-term objectives, and the plan is to also have this in the B Team and U23 & U19 teams too

Edited by Jogo Bonito

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Posted (edited)

SLB - Season 2 (part 5)

Things are still going well in Lisbon, with February bringing maximum points from our five league games

We also saw off the challenge of Fenerbahce in our entry game in the Europa League after dropping out of the Champions League early

March saw further progress in Europe, with a handsome home leg win over AS Roma laying the foundations of a 5-3 aggregate win

Next up in that we have CF Valencia, and the Spanish side will probably be a tough nut to crack

In the league, another two wins have been earned, but more importantly FC Porto lost at Sporting and drew their next game

This has allowed us to open up a small gap for the first time all season, and if we win the game in hand we will be in a very good position

The Taca de Portugal home Semi Final draw with Rio Ave was very disappointing, but we are confident of winning the away leg still 

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As mentioned above, FC Porto have started to drop points for the first time in two seasons, and our chances of winning the league are decent

We play Sporting at home next month, and the only other major match day challenge in the league will come from FC Porto 

We have to travel there for our penultimate league match, which could either crush our dreams or see us rubbing their noses in it  

Financially the club remains very strong, and as new players are coming through the ranks now we don't really need to spend money

This has allowed me to renew player contracts of senior men, plus those we will start using from the B Team and U23 & U19 sides

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Edited by Jogo Bonito

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Posted (edited)

SLB - Season 2 (part 6)

We had a very busy schedule in April, with mixed emotions coming from our performances and results

A fine win in the League at home to Lisbon rivals Sporting seemed a perfect boost ahead of the Champions League QF with CF Valencia

It didn't turn out that way, as we were 2-0 down after just 12 minutes of the first leg in Spain

The players responded well though, as a goal on the stroke of half time made it 2-1 and we saw out the rest of the tie

Heading back to Portugal just one strike behind and with an away goal gave us confidence we could progress

That hope was slightly dented as we then failed to see off Braga in the league, conceding an 89th minute leveller when the job looked done

And perhaps that affected our next fixture, which was the return leg at home to CF Valencia

Believing that this was ours to lose, we were caught flat-footed again as the visitors raced in to a 2-0 lead inside 9 minutes this time

At that point it was clear the game was up, and this was a really lame and disappointing exit from a competition we were fancied for

We went on a goal blitz for the rest of the month with 19 goals in our next four matches including an aggregate win in the Taca de Portugal

May arrived with us six points clear of FC Porto, although we had them away in our penultimate league game

By the time we played them the gap was still six points with just two league matches to play, and we just needed a point to lift the trophy

We responded quickly to going a goal down this time as Gustavo levelled, and the 1-1 draw gained was enough to be crowned champions

There was no better place to clinch the title, as FC Porto have been incredibly strong now in both seasons and really push us hard  

We saw out the season in style after that, winning our least league fixture and then lifting the Taca de Portugal with a 2-0 win over Chaves

Incredibly that was our 4th domestic title of the season (the Supertaca and League Cup had been won earlier on)

Ironically, an improved performance in Portuguese competitions was in contrast to a worse outcome in Europe

Whilst a QF exit wasn't a disgrace, we had reached the same stage of the Champions League last year - so it was a clear decline on that front

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Here is the final table of the 2019/2020 season, highlighting a very impressive season from us

A special mention should go to Rio Ave who claimed 4th and a Europa League slot with a very strong finish

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Here is the performance graph, plus a quick overview of player stats, board confidence and an update on our financial position

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Despite the four trophies lifted, and reasonable effort in Europe, the board still weren't too happy though

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The end of season player stats are below, and the stand out pick has to be Raul Jimenez with 44 goals in all competitions

Brazilian left-back Renan Lodi and striker Pedro also had fine seasons, but nobody really disappointed

We have introduced a few more youngsters to the squad during the season, but there is a lot more young talent than this pushing at the door 

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Jimenez was mentioned above, and he was just able to take the top league scorer award ahead of the ever-impressing FC Porto duo

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So the board aren't particularly convinced by my results, but we are in an outrageously strong financial position now

And next year's transfer budget of £138m reflects that we spend a pittance compared to what we bring in

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As we begin to plan for season 3, we aren't looking to do too much recruiting - and there aren't too many players we need to clear out

The three men not from Portugal or Brazil are available if suitable offers come in, but we'll be promoting from within if any of them do leave

Edited by Jogo Bonito

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