Thursday, April 28, 2005

Fernando Meira

Recently I’d asked a reader in Portugal about a player I had only briefly seen and wanted to know more about: Fernanado Meira. Thank you to Rui Rocha at afrontamentos.

Our friend in Portugal offered to write for this blog about the Portuguese player:

Fernando Meira is a 26 year old center back, but he can play as a defensive midfielder too. His first club was Vitória de Guimarães in Portugal. When he was 19 years old he started to play in the first 11 of the club, and when he was 21 he was one of the best defenders in the league which is what made fellow Portuguese club Benfica become interested on him. He was just 21 when he transferred to Benfica for something like 6 million euros (a steep price tag in Portugal)! In Benfica he won a place in the first 11 from the beginning, playing in both defensive and midfield positions.

From Benfica, he got his first cap with the Portuguese national team.

His transfer was controversial because Benfica's chairman Vale e Azevedo delayed his payment to Vitória intentionally (now Vale e Azevedoi's in prison due to that transfer and also Ovchinnikov's transfer). At age of 23 or 24 Meira went to Stuttgart in the Bundesliga, where he won his place also from the beginning. Nowadays he's one of the main 5 players of his club, and still plays in both positions (although more as defender), but on the Portuguese team he hasn’t grabbed a place, mostly because of Jorge Andrade, Ricardo Carvalho and Costinha are very good players (same positions).

And a follow up by the same reader on the article about Moutinho recently:

Joao Moutinho grew up in Sporting's youth academy, and only came to the first team this year. He was called in to replace an injured player and he played so well that he started playing full time in the 11. He's now one of the irreplaceable players of the team. His main characteristics are that he's a fighter in the midfield; he never stops running and fights for the ball. He has relatively good technique and he passes the ball well too. By now, he's grabbed his place on the Sub-21 of Portugal. He says he wants to be a teacher when he stops playing football.


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