Ricardo Costa (def) Tondela; Walter Clar (Def) Sol de America, PAR; G. Dulanto (def) RA Garcilaso, PER; Lucas Tagliapietra (def) AL-Batin, SAU; Paulinho (mid) Fluminense, BRA; Fernando Cardozo (mid/att) Olimpia Asuncion, PAR – on loan; Cassiano (att) CSA, BRA; Ivan Bulos (att) Free; Heriberto (att) Moreirense/Benfica; Marlon (def) Fluminense, BRA - on loan
Assis (sp)(gk) released; Jubal (sp)(def) Arouca – return from loan; Aymen Tahar (sp)(mid) Panetolikos, GRE; Samu (sp)(mid) Vizela; Matheus Índio (mid/att) Estoril – return from loan; Federico Falcone (sp)(att) released; Rafael Lopes (r)(att) KSC Krakow, POL; André Claro (sp)(att) Académica; Gonçalo Cardoso (sp)(def) West Ham, ENG; Talocha (k)(def) Atromitos, GRE
After several seasons improving their results, Boavista fans expected a slightly better outcome than another 8th place. Axadrezados were relatively inconsistent, especially under Jorge Simão, who was then replaced by Lito. The former Setúbal main man brought more stability.
There are however reasons for the fans to hold some expectation for the next season. Boavista managed to keep all the important pieces of their squad while adding some very interesting new names.
The likes of André Claro, Matheus Índio or Rafael Lopes are leaving, but their impact, last season, was considerably low. Keeping talents like Yusupha, Bueno or Sauer is a real statement about their intentions.
Heriberto had a highly promising season at Moreirense and will be a reference in attack. Cassiano had a few good games in Brazilian Série A; Bulos and Lucas return to Bessa after impressing in their first spell at the club. Cardozo is hyped as a hot prospect.
Even more important than the new signings will be the capitalizing of the existing talent in the squad. Sauer is an unquestionable gifted winger. Helton Leite is one of the best goalkeepers in the league, and it will be highly important to have him back fully recovered from a severe injury.
While very competent in terms of a team looking to be consistent in the middle of the table, it’s questionable that Lito will deliver the necessary drive to bring Boavista and this talented squad into the next level.
Update: promising centre-half Gonçalo Cardoso left and so did left-back Talocha. Marlon arrives on loan from Fluminense.
Boavista is equipped to finally get involved in the race for European places.
André Ferreira (sp)(gk) Benfica B – return from loan; Bruno Jesus (def) São José, BRA; Adi Mehremic (def) Karpaty, UKR; A. Dzwigala (def) Wisla Plock, POL; Bruninho (def) Tombense, BRA; Afonso Figueiredo (def) Rio Ave; Leandrinho Marques (mid) Fremad Amajer, DEN ; Enzo Zidane (mid) Lausanne, SWI – on loan; Bruno Xavier (mid) Nacional SP, BRA; Zidane Banjaqui (mid) B team; Estrela (mid) Varzim; M Touré (mid/att) Oliveirense; Mehrad Mohammadi (att) Sepahan, IND; Peu (mid/att) Fluminense, BRA – on loan; K. Yamga (att) Verona, ITA; Ruben Macedo (mid/att) Chaves; M. Kahraba (att) Zamalek, EGY; Welinton Jr. (att) Coritiba, BRA
Carlos Ponck (r)(def) Basaksehir, TUR; Jorge Fellipe (r)(def) Damac FC, SAU; Diego Galo (r)(def) Chaves; R. Defendi (sp)(def) Estoril; Vitor Costa (r)(def) Inter de Lages, BRA; Rodrigo (k)(def) PAOK, GRE; Vítor Gomes (k)(mid) Omonia Nicosia, CYP; Luis Fariña (r)(mid) Cerro Porteño, PAR; Bruno Braga (sp)(mid) Leixões; Luquinhas (k)(att) Legia Warsow, POL, Derley (r)(att) Muangthong UTD, THA; Mama Baldé (k)(def/mid/att) Sporting –return from loan, Bruno Gomes (sp)(att) Estoril – return from loan
After a disastrous first half of the campaign, Aves produced an amazing recovery after January, when Augusto Inácio was appointed. The experienced coach changed the team completely and his straightforward counter-attack approach saved Aves from relegation.
Things are expected to be very different this time around. Goalkeeper Beunardeau and midfielder Falcão aside, the whole starting eleven and more used reserves are gone. It’s hard to build expectations when the likes of Vitor Gomes, Balde, Luquinhas, Galo and Ponck aren’t around anymore.
Inácio’s approach may be hard to apply, even if he had an entire pre-season to prepare the team, this time around. Most players are debutants in Primeira Liga and therefore there’s a feeling of a big gamble surrounding the team.
Afonso Figueiredo and Rúben Macedo are known and safe calls (the former was even already elected captain); Welinton Jr. has good references from Brazil and made already an impact in preseason matches. The other new singings are completely unknown in the country.
If Inácio manages to maintain the team’s strategy and sharpness with the new players, Aves may be having a more stable season this time. The huge amount of new players makes it sound like a very hard task, though.
Aves is expected to be fighting for survival in the last weeks of the season.
Joel Sousa (gk) Youth system; João Vigário (def) Guimarães; Filipe Ferreira (def) Nacional; Yohan Tavares (def) Troyes, FRA; Bruno Wilson (def) Braga; Philipe Sampaio (def) Feirense; Manu Sanchez (def) Cadiz, SPA; Pedro Augusto (mid) São Paulo B, BRA – on loan; Pepelu (mid) Levante, SPA; Richard Rodrigues (mid) Internacional, BRA – on loan; Jonathan Toro (att) Huesca, SPA; R. Castillo (att) Saprissa, CRC; João Vasco (att) Castelo Branco; Simão Pipo (att) Penalva Castelo– return from loan
David Bruno (r)(def) Astra, ROM; Ricardo Costa (r)(def) Boavista; Joãozinho (r)(def) Apoel Nicosia; Jorge Fernandes (r)(def) Porto – return from loan; Nego Tembeng (sp)(mid) Estoril; Sergio Peña (r)(mid) Granada, SPA; Tomané (k)(att) Red Star, SRB; Juan Delgado (r)(att) Gimnastic, SPA – return from loan; Cristian Arango (sp)(att) Benfica B – return from loan; Pablo Sabaag (sp)(att) Deportivo Cali, COL
Saved by the gong. Tondela avoided relegation on a dramatic last round against Chaves and had a performance that was worth all season. It was strange to see Beirões struggling until so late as they always seemed to have enough quality to have an easier ride.
After three memorable years at Tondela, Pepa left and was replaced by the Spanish Natxo Gonzales, former Deportivo and Alaves. It’s always a gamble to bring someone not used to the idiosyncrasies of Portuguese football, as previous experiences proved.
The departure of Tomané will unquestionably be the biggest thing happening this summer and, if Tondela will be successful this season, they will need a decent replacement for the striker who was by far last season’s standout.
Some other references left as well, like defenders Joãozinho, Bruno and Ricardo Costa, but some other icons like goalkeeper Cláudio Ramos, skillful António Xavier and unpredictable Murillo certainly keep the team from falling apart while some unknown names are getting used to a new reality.
Unless these debutants in Primeira League bring something outstanding, this squad is considerably more fragile than the last one. Some second line players like Pité or Jaquité may need to step up into more relevant roles this year.
Tondela is expected to be struggling and heavily involved in the relegation race.
André Moreira (gk) Atletico Madrid, SPA; H. Koffi (gk) Lille, FRA; Hakin Ouro-Sama (def) Lille B, FRA; Eduardo Kau (def) Avaí, BRA; F. Varela (def) R. Majadahonda, SPA; Simon Ramirez (def) Benfica B; Chano Boukholda (mid) Lille B, FRA; André Sousa (mid) Sporting Gijon, SPA – return from loan; Benny (mid) Benfica B – return from loan; Imad Faraj (att) Lille B, FRA – on loan; Charles Brym (att) Lille B, FRA – on loan; Dieguinho (mid/att) Cova da Piedade;
Muriel (k)(gk) Fluminense, BRA; Filipe Mendes (sp)(gk) Casa Pia; V. Sasso (r)(def) Servette, SWI; Cleyton (sp)(def) Hatta Club, UAE; Zakarya B. (r)(def) Denizlispor, TUR; Pierre Sagna (r)(def) end of contract; Diogo Viana (r)(def/mid) Braga; Dalcio (sp)(mid) Benfica B – return from loan; Eduardo Henrique (k)(mid) Sporting; Henrique Almeida (r)(att) Chapecoense, BRA; Tiago Caeiro (sp)(att) end of contract
2018-19 was a decent season for ‘Azuis’, even if a bad ending made them drop to a more modest position. Silas’ men were always trying to bring a positive and pleasant approach and they managed to be competitive in the process.
Keeping Silas in the dugout was the best move that Belenenses could do in the present summer. The young manager has proved to be a talent and will certainly be aimed by bigger clubs in the near future.
There were a few important departures; Muriel, Diogo Viana, Zakarya, Sasso and Eduardo Henrique were among the most important players of last season and will surely be very hard to replace.
André Sousa returned and is expected to assume an important role in the midfield. Goalkeeper André Moreira is also a return, but he failed to impress in all clubs he has been playing in the last few seasons.
Lucca and Ljujic didn’t leave and are capable of reaching a good level on this second season. Licá seems to be in good form, and Kikas is the biggest hope for goals. There are a few unknown names arriving for the places at the back.
Silas has proved capable of bringing the best out of inexperienced players; however, this squad seems slightly weaker than last season, at first sight. Particularly at the back, where Silas’ teams tend to be more vulnerable.
Azuis will aim for a mid-table position once again. The squad doesn't seem equipped to fight for anything higher.
Petit (coach); Jean Cléber (sp)(mid) CSA, BRA; João Gamboa (sp)(mid) Chaves – on loan ; Ricardo Valente (sp)(att) Hatta Club, UAE
An unusually low season, last year, for Insulares. For a considerable part of the campaign, Verderrubros were struggling to get away from the relegation places, which is something the fans won’t accept to happen twice in a row.
Petit, expert in saving teams in trouble, was replaced by a more project-oriented Nuno Manta. At least on paper, Manta is a young manager with good ideas that can now be put in practice in a more ambitious side than Feirense, his former club.
There are hopes for a much more solid season this time, mostly because the squad had very few changes. Joel had a heart disease detected and may not play at all this season. But that is about it, as all the other important squad players will remain at the club.
Kerkez in defence, Jhon Cley and Bambock in the midfield seem ready to make an immediate impact, while Marcelinho showed good skills this year while at Londrina and seems the typical second half agitator.
Keeping the likes of both goalkeepers Charles and Amir, defenders Zainadine and Grolli and especially midfielders Vukovic and Correa is a great (and quite surprising) move from the club.
Commanded by a more positive coach, Marítimo should be presenting a strong 4-3-3 that could cause problems to any side when playing at Barreiros.
Marítimo is known for being a tame visitor. Getterson and Rodrigo Pinho are talented but seemed irregular last season, and the club may miss Joel if the Cameroonian is confirmed to be unavailable.
It seems reasonable to ask the team to be back at competing for European places.
Vítor Caetano (gk) Figueirense, BRA – on loan; Nehuén Perez (def) At. Madrid, SPA – on loan; Patrick W. (def) Ceará, BRA; Riccieli (def) Mirassol, BRA; Alex Centelles (Def) Valencia B, SPA – on loan; Josh Tyomn (def) Stoke City, ENG – on loan; José Lionn (def) Chaves; Cafu Phete (mid) Guimarães; Lawrence Ofori (mid) Feirense; Gustavo Assunção (mid) At. Madrid U19 – on loan; Guga Rodrigues (mid) Benfica B; João Neto (mid) Braga U17; Pedro Gonçalves (mid) Wolves U23; João Caiado (mid) Wolves U23; Toni Martinez (att) West Ham U23, ENG; Nico Chappiacasse (att) At. Madrid B, SPA – on loan; Diogo Gonçalves (mid/att) Benfica B – on loan; Fábio Martins (mid/att) Braga – on loan; Ruben Lameiras (mid/att) Plymouth Argyle, ENG
Ricardo (r)(def) Feirense; David Luís (r)(def) Guimarães B – return from loan; Angelo Menezes (r)(def) Ararat Armenia; Jorge Miguel (r)(def) Académico Viseu; Al. Sylla (sp)(def) Louletano; Joel Monteiro (sp)(def) Casa Pia; Luís Rocha (r)(def) Farense; Victor Garcia (sp)(def) Guimarães – return from loan; Deni Hocko (k)(mid) Mouscron, BEL; Pathé Cissé (k)(mid) União Madeira – return from loan; Capela (r)(mid) Penafiel; Fabinho (sp)(mid) Oliveirense; Filipe Oliveira (sp)(mid) Vilafranquense; Raphael Guzzo (r)(mid) Reus Desportiu, SPA – return from loan; Fabrício Simões (k)(att) Farense; Benny Ashley-Seal (sp)(att) Wolves U23 – return from loan; Feliz Vaz (sp)(Att) Feirense;
25 years later, Famalicão returns to the main division on the country, and all thanks to a very solid season at Segunda Liga that saw Famalicenses grabbing a promotion spot with a very comfortable lead over 3rd place.
Coach João Pedro Sousa will be having his first experience as a main coach after having been assistant manager in England in the last three years. His methods, experience and competence are obviously unknown and will be tested this season already at top flight level.
Despite the relatively successful season last year, Famalicão went into a very big squad overhaul, having signed 19 players so far.
João Pedro Sousa’s contacts in British football allowed Famalicão to bring quite a few young players from EPL teams. A lot of players are also arriving from Atletico Madrid youth system. Famalicão will try to prove one wrong, obviously, but it didn’t seem like the most careful and sensible approach on the market.
There are however some safe bets on the likes of full-back José Lionn and wingers Fábio Martins and Diogo Gonçalves but, like these last two, a lot of new signings arrived on loan from their parent clubs which can also be an issue down the road.
A 0-2 defeat in an early round of Portuguese Cup, at home, against a second division team, showed a few weaknesses that will hurt Famalicão spell on top flight if not quickly and properly addressed.
It will be a hard season for the newly promoted side. It will be a big surprise not to see Famalicão involved in the relegation race in the last rounds of the season.
FC Pacos de Ferreira
S. Bertelli (gk) Operário, BR – on loan; André Micael (def) Gaz Metan, ROM; Maracas (def) Sampaio Correa, BRA; Oleg Rabciuk (def) Porto B; Jorge Silva (def) Leixões; Kevem (def) Mirassol, BRA; Rafael Gava (mid) Caxias do Sul, BRA; Bernardo Martins (mid) Benfica B; Hélder Ferreira (mid/att) Guimarães; Dadashov (att) Wolves, ENG – on loan; Yago (mid/att) Athlético Paranense, BRA – on loan; Getúlio (att) CSA/Tombense, BRA;
Junior Pius (r)(def), Royal Antwerp, BEL; Rui Correira (sp)(def) Nacional; Paulo Henrique (sp)(def) Penafiel; Christian (r)(mid) Feirense; Rafael Barbosa (r)(mid) Sporting – return from loan; Barnes Osei (r)(mid/att) Académica; Wagner (r)(mid/att) Chaves; Diogo Medeiros (sp)(att) Mafra; Elves Baldé (sp)(att) Sporting B – return from loan
Last season’s champion of Segunda Liga, Paços de Ferreira immediately came back to the top flight just one year after relegation with a dominant performance that allowed Castores to end 20 points above the 3rd place, mostly based on a solid defence.
Coach Filó is the new man in the dugout, replacing Vítor Oliveira who moved elsewhere. Filó is relatively inexperienced at this level, but his spell with Sporting da Covilhã last year was promising.
There are a few known faces that will assure top flight pedigree and experience to this side. Baixinho, André Micael and Bruno Telles in defence, and André Leão, Luiz Carlos and Pedrinho in midfield are all frequent costumers of Primeira Liga.
Options in attack are many and with quality. Winger Sodiq Fatai and striker Douglas Tanque were the main reason Paços kept scoring goals aplenty last season even after the midseason departure of Luiz Phellype to Sporting.
Getúlio arrives from Brazilian Série A and is a great talent with tendency for inconsistency and motivation issues. Dadashov is a relatively big name arriving at Castores from Wolves. Hélder Ferreira seems to have chosen the ideal club to get more game time and confirm all his potential.
The inexperience of coach Filó may be an issue. It seems that centre-half position could use a more definite talent to add on the “just” competent Baixinho and Micael. Will Maracás do the job?
Paços seems well equipped to challenge most mid-table teams in Primeira Liga. However, the fans should expect a relegation contention, for precaution.
Renzo Saravia (def) Racing, ARG; Ivan Marcano (def) Roma, ITA; Yordan Osorio (def) Guimarães – return from loan; Sérgio Oliveira (mid) PAOK, GRE – return from loan; Romário Baró (mid) B team/youth system; Luiz Diaz (mid/att) Junior FC, COL; Nakajima (mid) Al-Duahil, QAT; Zé Luis (att) Spartak Moscow, RUS; Marchesin (gk) and Uribe (mid), America, MEX
Casillas (r)(gk) retired; Fabiano (sp)(gk) end of contract; Maxi Lopez (sp)(def) end of contract; Éder Militão (k)(def) Real Madrid, SPA; Felipe (r)(def) Atletico Madrid, SPA; Hector Herrera (r)(mid) Atletico Madrid, SPA; Oliver Torres (sp)(mid) Sevilla, SPA; Y. Brahimi (k)(mid/att) Al-Rayyan, QAT; Hernani (sp)(mid/att) Levante, SPA; André Pereira (sp)(att) Vit. Guimarães – on loan; Adrian Lopez (sp)(att) end of contract;
Big upset in 2018-19 as Dragões lost the title after having grabbed a comfortable lead of 7 points during the season.
The squad got hurt by a few highly important departures: Militão and Felipe in defence, Herrera, Oliver and Brahimi in the midfield; the financial capacity to replace them all is questionable.
Perhaps the most critical area will be in goal, as Porto are desperately trying to find a suitable replacement for the unfortunate Casillas whose health problem forced him an early and abrupt retirement.
Nakajima is an exciting new signing and perhaps the best man to replace Brahimi in the creativity department. Luiz Diaz gave good signs during the preseason but is still a question mark. Osorio had a great season at Guimarães, but will he make it on the big stage?
Marega continues on the club at the moment, but he has been heavily linked with moves to EPL. Should he leave, Porto won’t necessarily need a replacement as former Spartak Zé Luís seems to have been signed to replace him.
After a long period without any significant name coming from the youth system, Porto seems to be ready to bet on a few youngsters, in which a big part of the fans’ hope will rely this season. Eyes on the likes of Diogo Leite in defence, Romário Baró in midfield and Fábio Silva in attack.
The squad seems weaker in relation to last season’s already questionable group. Defence, in particular, seems quite a possible liability during the season.
Update: Club just signed goalkeeper Marchesin and creative midfielder Uribe, both from Mexican side America. Two signings expected to be vital for the season.
The fans won't demand anything less than the title in any circumstance, especially after last season's heartbreaking disappointment.
Gil Vicente FC
Denis (gk) Figueirense, BRA; Bruno (gk)(Nautico, BRA; Rúben Fernandes (def) Portimonense; Ygor Nogueira (def) Fluminense, BRA; Rodrigão (def) Atlético Mineiro B, BRA; Kellyton (def) Uberaba, BRA; Henrique Gomes (def) Covilhã; Arthur Henrique (def) Ferroviária, BRA; Bogdan Mladenovic (mid) Rad Beograd, SRB; João Afonso (mid) Goiás, BRA; Márcio Meira (mid) Armacenenses; William Soares (mid) Arouca; Bozhidar Kraev (mid) FC Mitdjylland, DEN; Leo Cordeiro (mid) Espinho; Claude Gonçalves (mid), Troyes, FRA; Lourency (att) Chapecoense; Zakaria Naidji (att) Paradou, ALG; Sandro Lima (att) Estoril; Erick (Braga); Petar Petkovski (att) Rabotnicki, MAC
Gil was playing on third tier and finished last-placed in 2018-19; this upcoming season, Gilistas will be playing in the top flight, though. This bizarre move has to do with the fact that Gil Vicente won a long time court process related to an issue involving an unfair relegation back in 2006.
Naturally, the whole squad needed a massive upgrade. A total of 20 players (and counting) arrived in the summer to give the team a competitive level for Primeira Liga.
The highly experienced and charismatic around the city of Barcelos Vítor Oliveira will lead the team, as this time he didn’t opt to stay on a lower division like some other times.
There are a couple of known players like former Portimonense skipper Rúben Fernandes, midfielders William Soares and Claude Gonçalves, and forwards Sandro Lima and Erick. Still, among them, only Claude and Rúben were successful in their previous top flight spells.
The rest of the squad is composed by players that will have their first experience at Primeira liga. João Afonso (Goiás) and Lourency (Chapecoense) have Brazilian top flight pedigree.
All of the above seems to point for a very problematic season, as only a few players aren’t new at the club. Gil will be the biggest question mark in the league.
Most likely to be heavily involved with relegation contention.
Vítor Campelos (coach) Guimarães B; Mateus Pasinato (gk) Piracicaba, BRA – on loan; Steven Vitória (def) Lechia Gdansk, POL; Lazar Rosic (def) Nacional/Braga ; Djavan (def) Chaves; Abdu Conte (def) Sporting; Sori Mané (mid) Cova da Piedade; Alex Soares (mid) Omonia Nicosia, CYP; Luiz Henrique (mid) Náutico, BRA; Filipe Soares (mid) Estoril; Luís Machado (mid/att) Feirense; Fábio Abreu (att) Penafiel
Ivo Vieira (coach) Guimarães; Ivanildo (r)(def) Sporting – return from loan; Rúben Lima (r)(def) end of contract; Alan Schons (sp)(mid) Penafiel; Ângelo Neto (r)(mid) São Caetano; Chiquinho (k)(mid) Benfica; Heriberto (r)(att) Benfica B – return from loan; Arsénio (r) end of contract
Moreirense had their best season ever in 2018-19, and by a long margin. Usually involved in relegation race, Moreirense was the big surprise of the season, while playing a very attractive and uncompromised attacking football.
Considered the big responsible for that major success, Ivo Vieira left the club and signed with neighbours and mild rivals Guimarães. The new coach came from the same club; Vítor Campelos coached the B side of Vitória and will have his debut at top flight.
Another big blow for the team from last year is the attacking midfielder Chiquinho, whose amazing season made Benfica activate a buy-back clause. Winger Arsénio and box-to-box Neto are also important departures.
Moreirense was sensible on the transfer market and, instead of buying a big pack of Brazilian unknown players, they have handpicked players according to the needs of the squad. More than half the new signings are players with Primeira League experience, such as Luís Machado, Djavan, Rosic and Alex Soares.
Despite some crucial departures, the squad remained stable from last season, which should be the team’s biggest weapon for the new one. The backbone of the team will be kept with the likes of João Aurélio, Iago, Halliche, Pacheco, Pedro Nuno and Texeira assuring the quality and stability for the new season.
The new coach is inexperienced at this level, and it doesn’t seem to be anyone ready to fill in the shoes of Chiquinho. The achievement of last season may create an unrealistic expectation for the new season.
The club is expected to be back at the bottom half of the table, this season. Not being involved with relegation in the final weeks will be a good achievement already.
Willyan Rocha (def) Cova da Piedade; Stephen Payne (def) Varzim; Koki Anzai (def) Kashima Antlers, JAP; Rodrigo Freitas (def) São Paulo, BRA; Everson Bispo (def) Bahia, BRA; Rômulo (mid) Londrina, BRA; Jorge Vilela (mid) Aves; Luquinha (mid) Londrina, BRA; Beto (att) Montijo; Iury Castilho (att) Al Nasr, UAE; Marlos Moreno (att) Manchester City, ENG – on loan; Jackson Martinez (k)(att) – definitive buy
Rúben Fernandes (r)(def) Gil Vicente; Vitor Tormena (r)(def) Braga; Felipe Macedo (sp)(def) Penafiel; Marcel (sp)(mid) Penafiel; Theo Ryuki (sp)(mid) end of contract; Lucas Fernandes (r)(mid) São Paulo, BRA – return from loan; Wellington (sp)(att) end of contract; João Carlos (sp)(att) Sampaio, BRA – return from loan; Paulinho Bóia (sp)(att) São Paulo, BRA – return from loan
Portimonense was at times one of the pleasant sensations of the past season, particularly when they defeated big teams in style. However, Algarvios were also quite irregular, which didn’t allow them to be pushing for an higher position on the table in the end.
The best news for the fans is that the expected exodus of talent didn’t happen, and highly skilled players like Paulinho, Tabata, Dener and even Jackson Martinez continue in Portimão, just like coach António Folha, also a great piece of news for the club.
Tormena, Rúben Fernandes and Lucas Fernandes are gone and were, indeed, important players, but the club was quick into finding suitable replacements. Midfielder Rômulo made already a good impact in preseason; Everson Bispo arrives with some statute from Bahia.
The signing of Marlos Moreno on loan from Man City is a major achievement for the small southern club. However, the best news of the summer was the fact that Jackson will stay at the club, this time definitively.
Last season’s irregularity needs to be overcome so that this highly talented group reaches a more suitable place on the table. While evidently talented, coach António Folha seemed to lack ambition, and frequently seemed to underestimate the potential of his group.
Quality at the back doesn’t match that of the attack.
Portimonense doesn't have the tradition nor the obligation, but they certainly have the required talent to be fighting for European places, provided they can keep Paulinho, Tabata, Dener and co.
Rio Ave FC
Kieszek (gk) Malaga, SPA; Pedro Amaral (def) Benfica B; Carlos Mané (att) Sporting; Mehdi Taremi (att) Al Gharafa, QAT; T. Strkalj (att) NK Rudes, CRO;
Leo Jardim (k)(gk) Lille, FRA; Ruben Semedo (r)(def) Villareal, SPA; J. Buatu (sp)(def) Mouscron, BEL; Fábio Coentrão (k)(def/mid) end of contract; Afonso Figueiredo (r)(def) Aves; W. Galeno (k)(att) Porto – return from loan; Gelson Dala (r)(att) Sporting – return from loan; Carlos Jr. (sp)(att) Santa Clara
Rio Ave was slightly disappointing last season after having been the club-sensation of the league in previous years. Vilacondenses were building an image of a cult-club that played an uncompromised beautiful game, and that was ruined by a couple of questionable decisions last season.
The board made a very good choice by appointing Carlos Carvalhal who is the ideal man to bring back that spirit of attractive style without compromising competitiveness.
Despite the departure of some important players, inevitable result for teams signing players on loan, Rio Ave managed to have a stable summer and will be having a team very similar to last season.
Galeno, Coentrao, Dala and Rúben Semedo will be very hard to replace, but the players that were kept should be enough to keep up the level. Vilacondenses’ midfield will be particularly impressive with Filipe Augusto, Jambor, Diego Lopes and Tarantini pulling the strings for the team.
At the back, it will be vital to properly recover Nelson Monte from severe injury; in attack, it’s the make or break season for the likes of Nuno Santos, Gabrielzinho and new signing Carlos Mané. However, there’s the feeling that these two areas could use some improvement in personal.
It’s also questionable that goalkeeper Pawel Kieszek will still have what it takes to properly replace the exciting Leo Jardim.
Despite the excitement of having big name Carvalhal as coach, Rio Ave should only be aiming for a mid-table position.
Zaidu Sanusi (def) Mirandela; João Afonso (def) Guimarães; Rafael Ramos (def) Twente, NED; Steven Pereira (def) CSKA Sofia, BUL; Zé Augusto (mid) Criciúma, BRA; Lincoln (mid) Grêmio; Nené (mid) Fafe; Carlos Jr. (att) Rio Ave
Serginho (sp)(gk) Varzim; Accioly (sp)(def) retired; Rui Silva (sp)(def) Braga – return from loan; Kaio Pantaleão (k)(mid) Krasnodar, RUS; Minhoca (sp)(mid) Varzim; Martin Chrien (sp)(mid) Benfica B – return from loan
A very pleasant surprise, last season, as Açorianos were an impressive force in the Portuguese top flight with players mostly unknown for the general public. The newly promoted impressed most of the season and granted themselves a safe position quite early on.
Coach João Henriques himself was a good surprise after not having been much successful with Paços de Ferreira in the previous season. The Portuguese coach gave a very good image of his work and Açorianos will be thrilled to have kept him around for the new season.
The club has been doing an amazing job in keeping pretty much all important players from last season, at least for now. The only significant departure was that of holding midfielder Kaio. Keeping Patrick, Bruno Lamas, Osama, Schettine, Thiago Santana on this modest club despite many stronger teams showing interest is quite impressive.
Even players that failed to make a big impact opted to stay on and some of them may be assuming a big importance since their quality is unquestionable. Such are the cases of Malick Evouna, Pablo Diogo, or Dennis Pineda.
The quality at the back was perhaps the soft spot on an all in all balanced squad. Despite the signing of João Afonso, that should still be the weakest part. While competent, Marco Ferreira has never been totally consistent in goal.
Santa Clara should be moving around the mid-table places. However, the fact that some important talent will be having the second season for the club may allow them to aim for something else.
Ricardo Sá Pinto (coach); Eduardo (gk) Chelsea; Vitor Tormena (def) Portimonense/Gil Vicente; Caju (def) Santos, BRA; André Horta (mid) LA Galaxy, USA; Diogo Viana (def/mid) Belenenses; Hassan (att) Olympiacos, GRE – return from loan; Stojiljkoic (att) Maiorca, SPA – return from loan; Luther Singh (mid/att) Chaves – return from loan
Abel Ferreira (coach); Marafona (sp)(gk) Alanyaspor, TUR; Marcelo Goiano (r)(def) Sivasspor; Ricardo Ferreira (def) end of contract; Ailton (sp)(def) end of loan contract; Ricardo Ryller (sp)(mid) Bragantino, BRA – end of loan; Dyego Souza (k)(att) SZ FC, CHI; Fábio Martins (mid/att) Famalicão – on loan
Last season was a reality check exercise for Bracarenses. For the first time, a fourth team announced to be contenders for the title. After a reasonable start, a few upsets in mid-season sent Braga to their usual role in league and on the table.
Braga will keep most of the squad from last season; therefore will remain a force in Portuguese league. However, it’s clear the message that Braga will take it easier this time and save the title ambition for later.
The departure of manager Abel Ferreira is the most evident sign of that. The project is over, and now is time to build new ideas with Sá Pinto as the new boss.
Another sign of the end of a cycle is the departure of their most valuable striker, Dyego Souza. The recent Portuguese international wouldn’t be leaving so easily after the last couple of seasons.
On the other hand, there was the usual sensible domestic buying with affordable yet solid new players like Tormena and Diogo Viana joining in. The return of creative André Horta after one year in MLS is the most celebrated move so far.
While the squad seems considerably strong to keep Braga’s “fourth-big” status, it is questionable that the former irascible forward Sá Pinto possesses the characteristics needed for a team like Braga.
Braga will take a step back in their ambition. Messing up with the traditional order of the Big-3 would be a major success. Ending 4th with good margin over rivals Guimarães is the minimal, expected goal.
Chiquinho (mid) Moreirense – return from loan; Caio Lucas (mid/att) Al-Ain, UAE; Jhonder Cadiz (att) Vit. Setúbal; Raul de Tomas (att) Español, SPA; Carlos Vinícius (att) Monaco, FRA/Napoli, ITA
Yuri Ribeiro (sp)(def) Nottingham Forrest, ENG; Corchia (sp)(def) Sevilla, SPA – return from loan; Filip Krovinovic (sp)(mid) West Brom, ENG; Salvio (r)(mid/att) Boca Juniors, ARG; João Félix (k)(mid/att) Atletico Madrid; Jonas (r)(att) retired
Eagles were back at winning the title, last season, and mostly due to a spectacular second half of the campaign, after the exciting young coach Bruno Lage took charge.
Wonderkid João Félix was a big part of the success last season, but he won’t be around anymore as Atletico Madrid paid a record signing fee to get the highly promising forward.
Advanced age and physical problems led the fans’ favourite-for-several-years Jonas to retire; injury prone Salvio left the club to return to his home country.
Felix’ money was used in two unusually expensive signings: attackers Carlos Vinícius and Raul de Tomás. Chiquinho returns to the club after an amazing season at Moreirense. Despite a decent season from Vlachodimos, Benfica is searching for a big name for the goal.
There’s some excitement on the prospect of Ebuehi and Gabriel returning to fitness after long injuries. Youngster Jota will be part of the senior squad in definite, and there are hopes of him being the next big talent coming from the youth system.
Benfica will heavily rely on the successful formula of last season. Lage’s exciting new ideas interpreted by a group of mostly young new talents such as Rúben Dias, Ferro, Grimaldo, Gedson and Rafa. Pizzi will be orchestrating the team.
The squad seems to be lacking a bit of depth in some areas. André Almeida continues the most reliable option for right-back, which is not great news; there’s hardly any cover for Grimaldo on the left side.
Winning league back-to-back and establish the club as a dominating force on the country.
Valentin rosier (def) Dijon, FRA; Luís Neto (def) Zenit St. Petesburg, RUS; Ivanildo (def) Moreirense – return from loan; Eduardo Henrique (mid) Belenenses; Rafael Camacho (mid/att) Liverpool, ENG; Luciano Vietto (att) At. Madrid, SPA; Matheus Pereira (mid/att) Nuremberg, GER – return from loan
Francisco Geraldes (sp)(mid) AEK, GRE – on loan; N. Gudelj (r)(mid) GZ Evergrande, CHI – return from loan
Sporting had a season as mostly expected: struggling to keep up with the two rivals after a disastrous 2018 summer that almost ruined the whole squad.
Sporting could at least pick up the pieces and rebuild a squad that is now expected to mount a more serious competition to the top of the table.
The squad for the next season shouldn’t have many changes. However, Bruno Fernandes should be leaving and the no. 8 was by far Sporting’s absolute best player last season. Life after Fernandes is expected to be very hard for Leões.
Gudelj also left, but former Belenenses midfielder Eduardo Henrique should be a very decent replacement, if not an upgrade. There’s also the prospect of Battaglia returning from a very serious injury.
Biggest hopes of improvement will be in attack, as big name Luciano Vietto finally signed with Leões after having been a target in previous seasons. The former Valencia forward will provide an edgier approach near the opponent’s box, something that often missed last season.
Mathieu and Coates form a very solid duo at the back and should continue being the team’s most reliable point. Goalkeeper Renan passed the first season test and his ability and stability should only improve from now on.
Not having improved the level of quality from last season (quite the opposite, the departure of Bruno Fernandes will mean a step back), Sporting is expected to continue a few steps behind their two rivals in terms of general quality of the squad.
In theory Sporting will be assuming to be title candidates, as they cannot ask more patience from their fans; however, is it realistic to hope for a league title with the current squad?
Vitoria de Guimaraes
Ivo Vieira (coach) Moreirense; Jonathan (gk) Moreirense; V. Bondarenko (def) Shakthar, UKR; Lucas Soares (def) Alverca; Victor Garcia (def) Famalicão – return from loan; Edmond Tapsoba (def) youth system; Romain Correia (def) youth system; Ibrahim Touré (mid) Cordoba, SPA; Mikel Agu (mid) Porto/Setúbal; Al Musrati (mid) Youth System; João Pedro (att) Trofense; André Pereira (att) Porto – on loan
Luís Castro (coach) Shakthar, UKR; Yordan Osorio (r)(def) Porto – return from loan; João Afonso (sp)(def) Santa Clara; Tozé (k)(mid) Al Nasr, UAE; Mattheus (r)(mid) Sporting – return from loan
After a couple of shaky moments in the first half of the past season, Guimarães got back to a decent place that got them access to European spots. All in all, the supporters expected more.
There will be a few changes for the new season, starting right on the dugout. Luís Castro accepted a tempting offer from Shakthar Donetsk and the club signed with Ivo Vieira, who did an amazing job at Moreirense.
Solid defender Osorio and playmakers Mattheus and Tozé left the club, but the new signings seem to be more promising. There are high expectations surrounding striker André Pereira, on loan from Porto.
More important than the transfer moves will surely be the medical department actions. Recovering Jhonathan, André André, Wakaso, Aziz and Ola John while keeping Amoah away from injuries will be absolutely vital.
Ivo Vieira looked very promising at the helm of close neighbours Moreirense, and seems the ideal man to drive Guimarães to a more successful season. The squad seems more balanced than last year.
There are many players that are known for spending a lot of time on the medical department. There’s the fear that injuries may hurt the performance on the long term.
Defeating their arch-rivals Braga both on the pitch and on the table would be a dream this season. More realistic goal would be to set up the 5th place as the aim. However, fans will demand more consistency over the season.
Vitoria de Setubal
João Serrão (def) Juventus youth, ITA; João Meira (def) Chiajna, ROM; Bruno Langa (def) Amora; Leandro Vilela (mid) Paraná, BRA; Carlinhos (mid) Standard Liège, BEL – on loan; Brian Mansilla (att) Racing Club, ARG – on loan; Guedes (att) Al Dhafra, UAE; Khalid HAchadi (att) Ol. Khouribga, MOR
As it has become a habit recently, Setúbal survived on the very last weeks of last season. Vitória had a very rough period from round 12 to 26 without a single victory, which ruined a very interesting start.
Former player of the club, Sandro, drove Setúbal into a late but remarkable success, last season, and was rewarded by keeping the position for this new campaign. The inexperienced coach will be facing the challenge of preparing a season for the first time.
There were a few exits, but nothing too traumatic for the team. Attacking reference Cadiz and midfielders Mikel and Micael are all gone.
Leandro Vilela has some reputation in Brazilian league and should add some immediate pedigree in midfield. Same for Guedes in attack, as he returns to the country after a great 2017-18 season when he scored 12 goals.
Vitória will keep most of their team from last season, and will hope for the likes of Nuno Pinto, Sílvio and Mendy to present better fitness levels. Skipper Vasco and midfielders Nuno Valente and Éber Bessa will also be important references.
After having been struggling in all recent seasons and not having apparently improved their squad, Setúbal can be considered one of the weakest squads both in depth and also general quality.
Avoiding relegation, hopefully a bit earlier than usual in recent seasons.