Introducing you to the premier league in Portugal; where there is an abundance of young talent, rich history, and crazy culture for football.
Well, this is a little late, but what the heck! Welcome to Liga Zon Sagres, or to put it in simpler terms, Primeira Liga.
Just a run down of the history of the league real quick. Primeira Liga was created in 1934, and was instantly ruled by three teams: Sporting Lisbon, Benfica, and FC Porto. These three teams have won the league 77 out of 79 possible times, with the league being won by other teams only twice: once in 1945 by Belenenses, and another time in 2001 by Boavista.
Primeira Liga is a little different compared to the other big 5 leagues in Europe. There is only 16 teams rather than 20, and because of this, teams only play 30 league matches rather than 38.
The relegation process is very similar to the Bundesliga, but with less teams being relegated. The team that finishes last place is automatically relegated, and the team that finishes second to last place plays the team that finished in second place of the Segunda Liga.
Now that all the boring information is out of the way, it’s time to give you the current league table.
1: Benfica- 40 Points
Player to watch: Nicolas Gaitan
This 25 year old attacking midfielder had 10 assists and 3 goals last year in the league, this year he is already the league leader of assists, I would expect to see even more out of him in the second half of the season.
2: Sporting CP- 38 Points
Player to watch: Fredy Montero
The pride of Seattle Sounders, Fredy Montero was on loan and scored an outrageous 13 goals in 17 matches for Sporting CP. Now that he is signed to an actual contract, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him score even more for his new team.
3. FC Porto- 36 Points
Player to watch: Danilo
A could say Jackson Martinez, the leading goal scorer for this team and the league, but look at Danilo! A 22 year old defender, leading the team in assists, he has netted 2 goals, and has appeared in every game for Porto! This kid has a bright future ahead of him.
4. CD Nacional- 28 Points
Player to watch- Strikers
Okay, hear me out. Mario Rondon, Diego Barcellos, and Djaniny have 14 goals combined, and the whole team have 1 assist. ONE assist. These are some selfish strikers, and it’s working.
5. Estoril- 27 Points
Player to watch- Evandro
The 27 year old midfielder has netted 7 goals for his teams, keep it up!
6. V. Guimaraes- 26 points
Player to watch- Douglas Jesus
Douglas Jesus is a big reason for V. Guimareas recent success, he has 8 clean sheets out of 17 league matches, and has the lowest goals for outside the “Big Three”.
7. SC Braga- 23 Points
Player to watch- Alan
This one goes out to the older part of my audience. Alan is a 34 year old striker who leads his team in goals and assists, and something tells me he still has a little gas in the tank for the last part of this season.
8. Academica- 22 Points
Player to watch- Rafeal Lopez
The 22 year old striker has just been picked up by Academica from the Liga2 Cabovisao team Penafiel. He might not get as much playing time as he would like, but when he gets out on the pitch he will make his worth known with a couple goals by the end of the season.
9. Rio Ave- 21 Points
Player to watch- Ederson Moraes
Now that Rio Ave has sold their starting goalkeeper, this 20 year old is going to have to step up for Rio Ave to get in a respectable league position.
10. Maritimo- 20 Points
Player to watch- Derley
Maritimo chose to sell their best striker, Heldon Ramos, to Sporting CP, for Maritimo to continue their crazy scoring, Derley is going to have to step up his game in the second half of the season.
11. Gil Vicente- 19 Points
Player to watch- Hugo Vieira
No doubt that Gil Vicente picked up this 25 year old striker to help their problems with scoring, and it will be interesting to see if he delivers.
12. Vitoria FC- 19 Points
Player to watch- Betinho
Betinho had a trial with Sporting CP in 2013, but wasn’t able to do anything productive. He was sent down to Sporting CP B squad where he scored 9 goals in 17 appearances in the first half of the season. He will be looking to do some damage with his new team in the second half of the season.
13- Arouca- 16 Points
Player to watch- Roberto
The 25 year old striker has netted 3 goals for Arouca already, but it’s just not getting it done. Arouca will need him to step up if they want to stay out of the relegation zone.
14- Belenenses- 15 Points
Player to watch- Jorge Rojas
Before being bought by Belenenses, Jorge Rojas made 17 appearances and netted 2 goals for the Benfica B squad. Belenenses is having a terrible time scoring goals, and I would be looking at their new pickup to help out.
15- Pacos Ferreira- 13 Points
Player to watch- Bebe
Bebe was picked up from Manchester United in the summer transfer window and has already scored 4 goals, and I would be surprised if he didn’t have at least 10 by the end of the season.
16- Olhanense- 12 Points
Player to watch- Mario Santana
Okay, lets be honest here. Olhanense are in trouble. When your team is in trouble, you are more willing to take risky chances with players. Mario Santana is a very risky chance. He scored 4 goals in 27 appearances with the Italian club Torino in 2012/13, but has scored 0 goals in 6 games for Genoa in the first half of this season. Olhanense will be praying that he gets into form and helps them out of last place.
Stay tuned for some more about the Primeira Liga, and if you have any questions, comment on this article, or ask me personally on twitter! @JamesRJ33
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