Dragons deals: Coral’s squad of Porto stars sold in last 20 years
Champions League third-favourites Real Madrid (4/1 with Coral) recently announced they shall sign Porto’s Brazil interntional right back Danilo for £23m this summer, to become the latest star from the Portuguese giants to leave for a big-money fee.
That got Coral football writers thinking, so we have come up with a starting XI plus full squad of other players that have left the Dragons (22/1 to reach the final) for pastures new in the last 20 years.
Goalkeeper: Vitor Baia
Brilliant Baia is perhaps the best keeper Portugal have ever produced, and is one of the most decorated Porto players in history, having won 11 Primeira Liga titles and a Champions League, among other silverware. He was sold to Barcelona in 1996, but returned to his home club after three seasons.
Right back: Paulo Ferreira
Jose Mourinho rated steady full back Ferreira so highly that he signed him twice, first for Porto and then Chelsea after winning the Champions League in 2004.
Centre back: Bruno Alves
Fearsome set piece threat Alves has played for Portugal in four major tournaments, and helped the Dragons to four league trophies before leaving the team he graduated from for Zenit St Petersburg in 2010. He now plays for Fenerbahce.
Here are some of Alves’ craziest challenges…
Centre back: Ricardo Carvalho
Carvalho is perhaps one of the greatest in his position of this century so far and, along with Ferreira, moved to Chelsea after bringing much success to Porto. He is still going strong aged 36 at Monaco, who are 20/1 to reach the Champions League final this term.
Left back: Alvaro Pereira
Uruguay wing back Pereira makes this XI just ahead of former Everton player Nuno Valente, and had a terrific spell with the Dragons too. He won the Copa America with his nation during his time with the club, is but now on Inter Milan’s books.
Centre midfield: Joao Moutinho
Midfield maestro Moutinho was signed from rivals Sporting Lisbon and spent three successful years at Porto, before being sold to cash-rich French club Monaco in 2013.
Centre midfield: Deco
Brazilian-born former Portugal star Deco spent five years with the Dragons as a key player, and was one of many that left the club after winning the Champions League in 2004. He joined Barcelona, before moving on to Chelsea.
Here is the little maestro netting the second goal in Porto’s 3-0 Champions League final triumph over Monaco…
Right wing: James Rodriguez
Awesome attacker James is the first of a sensational four-man front-line in this team, and the tricky Colombian, along with Moutinho, was sold to Monaco for big-money fee. After his standout performances for his country at the 2014 World Cup, he was sold to Real Madrid for a whopping £63m.
Watch James’ best moments in a Porto shirt…
Attacking midfield: Diego
The skillful attacker, whose full name is Diego Ribas da Cunha, has been highly underrated throughout his career, but enjoyed his time at clubs such as Werder Bremen, Juventus and Wolfsburg, after leaving Porto in 2006. He is now at Fenerbahce with Alves.
Left wing: Hulk
Simply nicknamed as ‘Hulk’, due to his bulky frame, the Brazilian forward had a great goal ratio during his spell with the Dragons, and has been sought-after ever since his move to Zenit in 2012 where he once again works with old Porto boss Andre Villas-Boas.
Striker: Radamel Falcao
The second Colombian to make this list, Falcao has been prolific in front of goal wherever he has played, except his most recent loan spell with Manchester United. He also played for Monaco, but only after his most heralded stint at Atletico Madrid, who he signed for in 2011 from Porto.
Subs to make up squad of 25…
Goalkeeper: Beto (now Sevilla)
Defenders: Nuno Valente (retired), Aly Cissokho (Aston Villa), Pepe (Real Madrid), Nicolas Otamendi (Valencia)
Midfielders: Maniche (retired), Fernando Reges (Manchester City), Raul Meireles (Fenerbahce), Fredy Guarin (Inter Milan), Lucho Gonzalez (Al Rayyan)
Forwards: Cristian Rodriguez (on loan at Gremio from Atletico Madrid), Juan Iturbe (Roma), Lisandro Lopez (Internacional), Benni McCarthy (retired)