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Portugal: Fans interrupt Sporting practice, assault players

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LISBON, Portugal (AP) Portuguese media are reporting that a group of fans forced their way into Sporting Lisbon’s training center on Tuesday and assaulted its players and staff.

Sporting has issued a statement condemning what it calls “acts of vandalism and the attacks on (our) athletes, coaches and professional staff.”

[ MORE: Arteta “clear favorite” for Arsenal job ]

Public television RTP says that around 50 intruders, who had covered their faces to not be identified, interrupted practice and assaulted a number players and staff. They also trashed a changing room.

Sporting missed out on a Champions League berth for next season after a loss in the last round of the Portuguese league cost it a second-place finish last weekend.

It is preparing to play the Portuguese Cup final against Aves on Sunday.

Sporting CP suspends entire first-team squad after feud with team president

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Things are getting really, really heated in Lisbon.

According to reports across Portugal, Sporting CP will be forced to play its B team after the first team squad became embroiled in a feud with outspoken team president Bruno de Carvalho.

Following the club’s Europa League quarterfinal first-leg loss to Atletico Madrid on Thursday, Carvalho roasted the squad via Facebook, putting players like Fabio Coentrao, Gelson Martins, Fredy Montero, and Bas Dost on blast for things like missing chances and getting yellow cards.

It was an absolutely ruthless post, one that claimed the team “wasn’t focused” and that the 11 players “played like 9 many times.”Seeing bad errors by international and experienced players adds more to the suffering [of the defeat],” he claimed.

Needless to say, the squad didn’t take kindly to being called out publicly by members of the front office. The reports state the players first hoped to confront Carvalho personally at training the next day, but he never showed. Feeling like they had to save face, the players took to Instagram on Portuguese international goalkeeper Rui Patricio’s page – also posted to Coentrao’s account – to make a statement saying they are united as a squad and expressed “disgust” with Carvalho’s comments.

Somos Sporting Clube de Portugal, em nome do plantel, somos a informar o seguinte… Suamos, lutamos e honramos sempre a camisola que vestimos. Não somos perfeitos e não acreditamos em jogadores perfeitos, porque queremos sempre evoluir! Não existem jogadores nem equipas perfeitas, mas quando as coisas não correm como queremos, sabemos assumir as nossas responsabilidades. Todos nós temos de o fazer! Quando vencemos, empatamos ou perdemos… sim… porque no Futebol estes são os resultados possíveis, a responsabilidade é sempre de todos! Somos uma equipa! Somos um grupo unido de um Grande Clube onde o respeito é uma das bases necessárias a essa união. Não podemos pensar apenas no “Eu”, mas sim “Nós” e sempre na equipa, porque só assim poderemos vencer. No nosso Clube, nas seleções nacionais que representamos, sempre damos e continuaremos a dar o nosso melhor, porque o querer é uma constante. Somos profissionais, somos humanos! A nossa integridade e o nosso compromisso são sagrados! Esforço, dedicação, devoção e glória sempre! Damos o máximo pelo Sporting Clube de Portugal, damos o máximo por nós próprios enquanto equipa, individualmente enquanto atletas. Lutamos pelo nosso Clube, pelos nossos adeptos e por nós, sempre! Não há outra forma séria de estar no Futebol Profissional que não seja esta… Por esta razão, em nome de todo o plantel do SCP, espelhamos neste texto o nosso desagrado, por vir a publico as declarações do nosso Presidente, após o jogo de ontem, no qual obtivemos um resultado que não queríamos… a ausência de apoio, neste momento…, daquele que deveria ser o nosso líder. Apontar o dedo para culpabilizar o desempenho dos atletas publicamente, quando a união de um grupo se rege pelo esforço conjunto, seja qual for a situação que estejamos a passar, todos os assuntos resolvem-se dentro do grupo. Saibamos ver que, por maiores que sejam as dificuldades, ainda há muito para disputar. Temos uma recta final em várias competições e vamos, haja o que houver, unidos e coesos, dar o máximo pelo Sporting Clube de Portugal. Somos Sporting Clube de Portugal.

A post shared by Rui Patricio (@rpatricio1) on

“On behalf of the SCP squad, through this joint statement we express our disgust with our president’s public statements after yesterday’s game for which we did not achieve the result we desired,” the statement reads. “The lack of support at this moment from the one who is supposed to be our leader, pointing the finger to publicly blame an athlete’s performance when a group is ruled by its combined effort.”

Well, it didn’t end there. Carvalho called the players “spoiled boys” has threatened to suspend every player on the first team for replying to his comments, in a since-deleted post on his Facebook account. And according to reports, Carvalho is planning on carrying out his threat, with Sporting planning to play its reserve squad against 14th placed Pacos Ferreira on Sunday.

This is not the first time Carvalho has publicly criticized his players. Just two weeks ago after former Porto striker Andre Silva said he didn’t get along with Carvalho, the president responded by painting Silva as ungrateful.

Sporting sits third in the Primira Liga table, five points back of second-placed Porto and six behind leaders Benfica. They are just a single point above fourth-placed Braga.

A look at Cristiano Ronaldo, now aged 33

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Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the greatest players of all-time, is celebrating a birthday on Monday.

[ MORE: Breaking down Real’s woes ]

The Real Madrid and Portugal legend is now 33 years old, and has accomplished more than so many other players.

That’s easy to forget as his club suffers through one of its worst seasons of the century. Real Madrid has only finished outside of La Liga’s top two on four occasions since Y2K turned out to be a dud, but sits 19 points behind Barcelona after a weekend draw.

Ronaldo has 20 goals in 27 matches this year, but just eight of them have come in La Liga play. He’s added three assists, and it’s worth noting that Ronaldo picked up four of those goals in the two league matches prior to Saturday’s draw with Levante.

[ MORE: Kane on 100 PL goals ]

With a maximum of 24 matches remaining in Real’s campaigns — 17 league, seven Champions League — Ronaldo is on pace to miss reaching the 40-goal mark since 2010. Not a lot of players score 40 goals a season, so it’s not the end of the world, but this is Ronaldo we’re talking about: the five-time Ballon d’Or winner who can lead a team to three-straight Champions League titles for the first time since 1976.

What else does he have in his locker on his 33rd birthday?

— Four Champions League titles (three with Real, one for Man Utd)

— Five league titles (three Premier League, two La Liga)

— Five domestic cups (two Copa del Rey, two League Cup, one FA Cup)

— EURO 2016 winner

— Four European Golden shoes

— Eleven FIFA FIFPro World XI inclusions

— Best Portuguese athlete abroad, 2007-09, 2011-13, 2014-17

— Records for: most Ballon d’Or awards, most FIFPro World XI awards, most consecutive 50-goal seasons, most career goals in Europe’s Top Six leagues, most career goals in UEFA competitions, first to score 100 in the Champions League, and about 50 more.

— First player to score in every minute, 1-90, of a career.

— Only player to win the League title, Domestic Cup, Domestic Supercup, Champions League, Club World Cup, League Player of the Year, Golden Shoe and Ballon d’Or at two different clubs

Silva finally debuts for Leicester City

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Adrien Silva‘s been with Leicester City for some time, but neither Craig Shakespeare nor Claude Puel had been able to deploy the Portuguese metronome until Monday.

Silva, 28, played just a minute in a 3-0 rout of Huddersfield Town, but it was a sweet minute after his $30 million move from Sporting CP was axed thanks to paperwork being filed seconds late.

Seconds!

How did it feel to be eligible for duty? Pretty darn good, says Silva.

“It’s been very frustrating, but now the difficult times are past me and now I’m very happy to be close to my goal. I’ve been working hard every day to arrive at this moment and I’m in good shape.

“It’s been very important to keep training because it’s a long time not playing and of course I can work and train more than normal, but there is nothing better than the game.”

Silva wasn’t even allowed to train with the Foxes at the start of the transfer hullaballoo, and the same post claims all of his training for three weeks was done in a hotel fitness center.

Now the EURO-winning Portuguese midfielder can join Wilfried Ndidi in a potent center midfield. Watch out for Leicester if Silva quickly gets his Premier League feet under him.

Source: LAFC finalizing deal to make Sporting CP’s Geraldes third DP

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Los Angeles FC has been wheeling and dealing over the last several days, and Bob Bradley‘s side looks to be close to making another significant splash.

[ MORE: Christian Pulisic named USMNT Player of the Year ]

An MLS league source has confirmed to Pro Soccer Talk that Sporting CP’s Francisco Geraldes is close to becoming LAFC’s third and final Designated Player signing ahead of the club’s inaugural 2018 season.

[ MORE: LAFC confirms signing of young DP Diego Rossi ]

PST has learned that LAFC is in the final stages of acquiring Geraldes, who is currently on loan from Sporting with fellow Portuguese side Rio Ave.

LAFC announced the signing of Diego Rossi on Thursday, with the 19-year-old Uruguayan becoming the second-youngest DP in league history. Meanwhile, Carlos Vela occupies the club’s other DP slot, after an agreement was struck back in August to be the team’s first signing.

Geraldes has started 11 matches this season for Rio, and scored one goal in league play.

The 22-year-old came up through Sporting’s academy system, and made his professional debut with Sporting B in 2013, before signing a contract with senior side Sporting CP two years later.

The young Portuguese midfielder has worked his way up the international ladder over recent years, making appearances with the Under-18, U-20 and U-21 national teams.