Hello and welcome to the end of season 2 with FC Porto. We’ve completed two seasons with the Portuguese club and are well on our way to creating a homegrown club.
In the previous end of season review we saw that our club still had a long way to go when considering our homegrown status.
|TEAM||PLAYERS||HG PLAYERS||HG PERCENTAGE|
As you can see, we have increased the number of homegrown players in both our first team and B-team by a large percentage. Of the 9 non-HG players in the first team, 3 of them are confirmed to be leaving in July 2018.
Let’s take a look through our three squads and see how they have performed throughout the 2017/18 season.
Another 4th place finish for the first team sees us yet again miss out on Champions League qualification. An inconsistent season saw us net ten fewer points than the previous year.
What is the reason behind this? Could it be the departure of foreign talent?
In short, no. Throughout the year we struggled to find a tactic that works, and we still were unable to find any consistency as we finished the season. Truthfully our squad is good enough for 2nd place. Benfica are still running away with the league, but the likes of Rio Ave shouldn’t be finishing ahead of us.
As you will see, we’ve brought in a couple of players again this year and will continue to do so if they will benefit our first team immediately.
A last minute goal from Inter Milan knocked us out of the Euro Cup 2nd Knockout Round on away goals. I couldn’t have been more gutted. Up until that round we had won all 12 of our matches in the competition and despite losing the first leg 4-2 we lead 3-1 until the final stages of our home leg.
Domestically, we lost to Vitoria Setubal on penalties in the Taca de Portugal Semi-Finals and lost in the Group Stage of the Portuguese League Cup (where we had both Benfica and Braga to beat).
- Andrea Belotti: 28
- Lucas Alario: 25
- Andre Silva: 13
- Rafa Soares: 12
- Andre Silva: 11
- Andrea Belotti: 11
- Rafa Soares: 50
- Andrea Belotti: 49 (3)
- Lucas Alario 47 (3)
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Another good season for our B-Team, and perhaps even better than our title winning exploits of last year. Having sold on a large majority of the foreign talent our B-Team possessed, I half-expected us to fall down the table.
So to finish second is a very good achievement for our reserves!
- Rui Pedro: 15
- Ivo Rodriguez: 13
- Andre Mesquita: 7
- Ivo Rodriguez: 11
- Pite: 10
- Michael Morais: 6
- Pite: 36
- Diogo Leite: 33(1)
- Joao Graca: 33
Our under 19’s proved why we are the most feared club in the country when it comes to bringing through youngsters. 20 wins from 22 matches with a goal difference of 77. That really is a superb season.
As you will see when we come to the stats, our youngsters who have made several first-team appearances were crucial in the success of this team. Miguel Magalhaes made 31 assists and scored 18 goals!
- Leandro Campos: 30
- Vasco Paciencia: 24
- Miguel Magalhaes: 18
- Miguel Magalhaes: 31
- Afonso Sousa: 12
- Jorge Teixeira: 10
- Miguel Magalhaes: 34 (2)
- Daniel Pires-Rodrigues: 34
- Vitor Ferreira: 34
A seriously impressive season from our under 19’s. With the likes of Sousa, Magalhaes, Campos et al moving towards the first team next year it will be interesting to see if any of our regens (2017, 2018) can take their place.
In July 2017 we bought Andrea Belotti from Torino for £37.5M.
Despite the aim of this series being to develop Porto into a Homegrown club I still want to be able to make big name signings when possible. This signing proved to be very successful with Belotti topping our scoring charts for the season.
In January we bought Virgil van Dijk to help secure up our defence. He, too, has proved to be a successful signing, averaging a 7.29 rating since his arrival from Southampton for £28M.
As you might have guessed, we sold a large number of players over the course of the season. Despite no big money transfers heading out, we did make £69M over the year, with fifteen players being sold for more than £1M.
First year signing Cheick Tiote left the club, as did regular first-teamers Otavio, Jesus Corona, Alex Telles and Willy Boly among others.
Financially we are secure, despite the drop in league form and no Champions League football. It will be interesting to see if we continue to be secure next season.
Youngster Progression & Development
The following players have earned their right through their performances in the first team to a VivaLaVidaFM GIF:
- Diogo Dalot
- Ruben Neves
- Diogo Verdasca
- Andre Silva
- Rafa Soares
I think that moving forward this section will be used to highlight and review our Homegrown youngsters that have been heavily involved in first team football over the past year.
We have both our January update and Regen review to take a look at the progression of our talented youngsters in more detail. With so many promising youngsters it is not possible for me to go through each player every post.
I think it’s best to start with the star of our 2017/2018 season, Diogo Dalot. At the beginning of the year, and certainly throughout last season, Fernando Fonseca was thought of as our first choice right back moving forward.
Not anymore! Dalot has improved incredibly well over the first two years of this save and is now a crucial member of our first team squad. That development is astonishing!
Our superstar in centre-mid has come back strongly after injury kept him out for large parts of last season. This stunted his development in year one but he has steadily improved his attributes over year two. One to keep hold of.
Diogo Verdasca is one of our first-choice centre backs, usually being paired with Virgil van Dijk at the back. It was great to see him make his international debut v Chile back in 2017 but he has yet to make a second appearance for his country.
Andre Silva is one that hasn’t developed a great deal over our first two years at the club. He’s been an important member of our squad without being integral. He only played the matches he did this year due to our 3 striker formation. He sits firmly behind both Belotti and Alario in the pecking order at the moment.
Rafa Soares is the success story of the season. Out on loan at Rio Ave in the first year, not many would have thought that he would return to Porto and make 50 appearances for the first team. But that he did. He’s improved very well in two years.
- Champions League Football
We need to qualify for Europe’s biggest competition. Three years without it is terrible for a club of our standard, no matter the players we have moved on. This year we need to finish second to qualify for a Champions League place due to Portugal’s poor standing in the European co-efficients.
- Afonso Sousa, Diogo Costa, Miguel Magalhaes and Rui Pedro
These four players have outstanding potential and we must make sure that they are able to reach it. I’d add Leandro Campos to this list too, but with Rui Pedro slightly ahead of him perhaps a season in the Second League with our B-Team would be more beneficial.
- Cup Success
In year one we won the Portuguese League Cup but have since found ourselves trophyless. Should we fall behind in the league again we need to make sure we progress further in the cups to ensure our job remains safe.
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Youth Development will be coming out consistently every Saturday from now on. So be sure to keep an eye out for it!