Portuguese Football League in 2011/2012

Portuguese elite league is characterized by the fact that only three teams managed to get 75 out of 77 league titles! Still, every new season is expected with new excitement. These three teams are Benfica, Porto and Sporting Lisbon (also known by their nicknames – "Eagles", "Dragons" and "Lions"). Only Belenenses from Lisbon and Boavista from Porto managed to break the string, but this year while of those two clubs is in the top-flight.

With 32 titles, Benfica is more successful than Porto (25) and Sporting (18). On the all-time list by the number of points, Benfica (4726) and Porto (4592) dominate, while Sporting (4399) lags. They have the largest share of fans (and, big budgets – off course). Far behind them are Vitória Guimarães and Braga. On the UEFA country ranking by clubs' performance, Portuguese league made a break from the ninth to the sixth place, mainly thanks to Porto's victory in the UEFA League. Still, due to this big gap between main clubs and the rest of the league, Portugal is far behind main European leagues in terms of the attendance – in season 2010/2011, average attendance was 10,080 visitors per match.

Portuguese league had many great players who have won numerous awards during their performances in Primeira: Eusebio (European Footballer of the Year 1965., FIFA World Cup Golden Shoe 1966., The European Golden Boot 1968. and 1973.), Héctor Yazalde (European Golden Boot in 1974.), Fernando Gomes (European Golden Boot In 1983. and 1985.), Rabah Madjer (African Footballer of the Year 1987.), Rashid Yekini (African Footballer of the Year 1993.), Michel Preud'homme ( Best European Goalkeeper 1994), Mário Jardel (European Golden Boot in 1998. and 2002.), Emmanuel Amuneke, Vítor Baía (Best European Goalkeeper 2004) and many others. Paolo Futre (European Golden Ball 1987.) is the only one of the famous footballers who played for all three major teams in Portugal.

Championship features large number of Brazilians who are considered as domestic players. They easily adapt as their native language is Portuguese. For many of them Portugal is just a passing station on the way to richer and more powerful European leagues.

Season 2011/2012 was launched on 12th August, and favorites for the title this year is Porto, the current champion, who started the race for points without coach Boas, top scorer Falcao (who went to Atletico Madrid for 40 million euros). However, contracts were signed with Defur and Mangala (Standard Liege), Sandro (for 9.6 million euros from Maldonado), Danilo (by 13 million from Santos) and a dozen players with what they have strengthened all lines of the team.

Traditionally, Benfica and Sporting will make the biggest threat for Porto. Benfica significantly refurbished their team (the biggest gain is Nolito from Barcelona B), and it will be difficult to fit them all in. Similar situation is with Sporting whose coach Carlos Freitas will try to shape the new team where most prominent reinforcements are Elias Trindade (came from Atlético Madrid for € 8,850,000), Ricky van Wolfswinkel (FC Utrecht, € 5,400,000), Valeri Bojinov (€ 2,600,000, came from Parma), Capel (€ 3,500,000, from Sevilla) and Jeffrén Suárez (€ 3,750,000 millions, from Barcelona).

As for the other teams, is expected that Vitória Guimarães and Braga will fight for European competitions, while others will struggle for survival and placement in the golden mean. After all, so it is in Portuguese football since the first national championship – in season 1934/1935.



Source by Vladeta Marinkovic

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