Tuesday, April 19, 2005

You will be hearing about Moutinho

In February, Sporting Lisbon let it latest amazing talent take the pitch. Joao Moutinho was drafted into the Sporting Lisbon youth system and since the age of 15 had been making waves inside the camp. Now, three years on at the age of 18 midfielder Joao Mutinho, likely the lowest paid player on the team, is the talk of English scouts: name the team.

And from what I’ve seen in Lisbon the other night against Newcastle, and before that in league play, another superstar may be emerging from the Sporting Lisbon ranks. He was the best player on the pitch by a mile on both sides and didn’t get his spectacular goal because of an even more spectacular Shay Given save. Moutinho did not put a foot wrong.

Another thing that grabbed me was how at times he played like Deco on one end of the pitch and Makelele on the other. The workrate seems to be a tradition among the players which emerge from Lisbon, no doubt this new gem is among them.

As a side note, Sporting as a team are in excellent form, they seem poised to win the competition. Their toughest test faces them against a very good Dutch side AZ Alkmaar. But the final is in Lisbon, so that gives them motivation, much as Feyenoord had when they won UEFA at their home stadium in 2002 and Portugal had against Holland during the European Cup last year.
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