The Portuguese Liga team of the decade
As a new decade begins, and in response to Riccardo Rossi's Serie Aaaaargh! Team of the Noughties, The Portugeezer looks back to put together the best team in the Portuguese league over the last 10 years.
And when thinking about the decade just gone, it's impossible to overlook the fact the FC Porto enjoyed a very successful time, winning six out of 10 domestic leagues and claiming both the UEFA Cup and the Champions League.
Therefore, although thereÃ¢ÂÂs still room for players of other teams, itÃ¢ÂÂs only natural and rightful that the vast majority of The PortugeezerÃ¢ÂÂs XI wears blue and white.
Unveiling what would have been a fearsome team...
Goalkeeper: VÃÂtor BaÃÂa was arguably the best Portuguese goalkeeper ever. The player with most titles won in the world (a stunning total of 32!), he was class on and off the field. Shame Scolari didnÃ¢ÂÂt hand him the chance of winning yet another title!
Right-back: Jose Bosingwa has certainly come a long way since joining FC Porto in 2003. A liability at first, he would eventually become one of the best full-backs in the world with his now-renowned mazy runs down the right.
Central defender: Ricardo Carvalho was one the most reliable defenders The Portugeezer has seen in his life. His superb positioning and composure are the main reasons why people here werenÃ¢ÂÂt surprised when Chelsea paid Ã¢ÂÂ¬25m to secure his services.
Central defender: Pepe arrived at Porto in 2004 and though it took him a while to settle, he would become a stalwart at the club. Very different in style from Carvalho, his speed, strength and ability to win aerial challenges make him a very complete defender.
Left-back: LÃÂ©o (Leonardo LourenÃÂ§o Bastos) moved to Benfica from Brazilian side Santos in 2005 at the age of 30. It was his first and only European adventure, but he adapted very quickly and established himself as a fan favourite.
As wily as a fox, he was able to use his small size (he was less than 5ft 7in) to his advantage and impressed pundits with both his defensive and offensive skills.
The defence, L to R: Bosingwa, Carvalho, Pepe, li'l Leo
Holding midfielder: Costinha, aka Ã¢ÂÂThe Minister,Ã¢ÂÂ was the guardian that held the key to PortoÃ¢ÂÂs rock-solid defence.
More than a mere tough tackler, Costinha was very effective at set-pieces and scored some crucial goals for the Dragons, including the injury-time strike at Old Trafford that brought a certain manager to widespread English attention.
Central midfielder: Maniche is today far past his prime, but on his day was an industrious, all-round midfielder that could play for any team. He would tackle, assist, score from distance and run the entire match. What else could you ask for, apart from a Nespresso?
Attacking midfielder: Deco is a player of a special, unique breed. The Brazilian-born schemer was blessed with an unusual ability to read the game and dribble past his opponents, a lethal combination that made the difference in many, many games.
No wonder Barcelona fans would later call him Decodificador Ã¢ÂÂ The Decoder).
Middlemen: Costinha, Maniche and Deco
Right-winger: Ricardo Quaresma arrived at Porto in 2004 and didnÃ¢ÂÂt take too long to endear himself to the club supporters with his mesmerising skills and trademark Ã¢ÂÂTrivelaÃ¢ÂÂ (swerve with the outside of the boot).
In his prime, Quaresma would tear apart any defence and smile afterwards, which was why he was one of the most sought-after talents in Europe not long ago.
Left-winger/Support striker: Lisandro LopÃÂ©z was one of the most underrated players in Europe. The Argentinian possesses a tremendous work-rate, above-average technique and goalscoring prowess.
If you think TÃÂ©vez is the Argentinian Rooney, think again because Lisandro is definitely not inferior to Carlitos.
Striker: LiÃÂ©dson. Who else? Ã¢ÂÂThe Slender OneÃ¢ÂÂ is now in his seventh season at Sporting and is their marquee player. A very clever striker in the box, his more than 100 goals at the club are proof of his innate ability to score.
Glory boys: Quaresma, Lopez and Liedson
Subs: HÃÂ©lton, Bruno Alves, Nuno Valente, Katsouranis, Lucho, SimÃÂ£o, Jardel
Manager: JosÃÂ© Mourinho. The man who came, saw and conquered. Survived his wicked first experience at Benfica, turned UniÃÂ£o de Leiria into a threat and well... won everything at FC Porto (with the exception of the European Super Cup, if you want to be picky).
What do you think? Who would you select for your team? Let the debate begin...
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