Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player to be crowned champion in England, Spain and Italy after Juventus were confirmed as Italian title-winners for an 8th consecutive season. As Ronaldo and João Cancelo celebrated their success, fellow Portuguese duo Vieirinha and Sérgio Oliveira took to the field on Sunday to wrap up PAOK’s Greek Super League title with a 5-0 hammering of Levadiakos.
There were also plenty of Portuguese goals across the globe, with man of the moment Gonçalo Guedes continuing his blistering run of form with a brace for Valencia in Spain. Bruno Alves scored a vintage free-kick to earn Parma a draw with Milan, while there was a debut for 16-year-old Pedro Brazão in France and Marco Silva’s Everton put four past Manchester United.
Ronaldo reaffirms Juve commitment after title triumph
For Ronaldo, the Serie A title clinched by Juventus represented the sixth league trophy of his career. Having won the English Premier League three times with Manchester United and La Liga twice with Real Madrid, the Portugal captain made history by completing an unprecedented treble across Europe’s top leagues.
Ronaldo did not get his name on the scoresheet during Juve’s 2-1 win over Fiorentina on Friday evening, although the 34-year-old assisted the winning goal, which was bundled into his own net by the visitors’ Argentine defender German Pezzella. João Cancelo played the full 90 minutes for Juve and wins his first league title since leaving Benfica five years ago.
“After winning the league in England and Spain, now I can say I’ve won it in Italy too. It was important to me and I’m very happy,” Ronaldo said after the match. “It was a year of success, we are happy. You can’t win all the time. We felt that we could do more and we wanted to win, but only one side can win the Champions League.
“I am staying at Juve, 1,000 per cent. In my opinion, it was a very good first season and I adapted well. We won the Scudetto and the Italian Super Cup, which is certainly not easy to achieve.”
Guedes focused on Champions League target after brace
Gonçalo Guedes made it eight goals from his last ten matches for Valencia after scoring twice from outside the area to give Los Ches a vital 2-1 victory at Real Betis in their quest for Champions League qualification.
Former Benfica man Guedes scored in each half with low right-foot drives from the edge of the area, once again proving decisive for his team following a first half of the season plagued by injury. The win means Valencia are still two points adrift of Getafe in 4th place in the Spanish top flight, with five matches left to play.
“We are very happy with the victory,” Guedes said after the match. “We knew the strengths of Betis and we took advantage of their weak points to score two goals. Then we had to work for the result. We want to qualify for the Champions League and we will do everything possible to achieve it.
“The truth is that I was a long time without playing and now I take every minute to help. I have a lot of confidence. I look happy? I am very happy to be able to help the team after a difficult injury and I want to continue helping.”
More Spanish goals
Fellow Valencia outfit Levante are in the thick of the relegation battle at the other end of the table, but a well-earned point after twice coming from behind against Espanyol could be looked back upon as a vital draw. Rúben Vezo – on loan from Valencia – scored the first of Levante’s equalisers in the 2-2 draw with the Catalans.
In the Segunda Division, Malaga solidified their place in the play-off positions with a 4-1 victory at Alcorcon. Former Boavista attacker Renato Santos scored the third goal for Malaga, who now enjoy a 4-point cushion over Deportivo La Coruna in the race for a top six spot.
Vieira hands Pedro Brazão Nice debut
Portugal under-17 international Pedro Brazão made his senior debut for Nice at the age of just 16 in their 1-0 home defeat to Caen on Saturday. Brazão, who only turned 16 in December, was introduced by Nice boss Patrick Vieira for the final 15 minutes of the match at the Venue Allianz Riviera.
Elsewhere in France, Leonardo Jardim’s Monaco are in danger of being sucked back into relegation trouble after their 3-1 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain was coupled with wins for struggling sides. Jardim had Rony Lopes, Adrien Silva and Gelson Martins in the line-up for the loss in Paris, leaving Monaco four points above the drop zone with Dijon joining Caen in securing a victory this weekend.
Paulo Sousa’s Bordeaux were beaten 2-1 at Nimes but with a ten-point cushion are surely safe from the threat of relegation. The Portuguese boss has one win so far from his five matches since taking charge of the Ligue 1 strugglers.
Silva delighted as Everton smash United
Marco Silva's Everton recorded their biggest home win of the season with a sensational 4-0 hammering of Manchester United at Goodison Park on Sunday. The Portuguese boss watched his side score twice in each half during a thoroughly convincing performance to earn Silva his most impressive result since taking over at the club.
Silva, who was without Portuguese midfielder André Gomes with the fomer Benfica man having accepted a three-match ban for violent conduct relating to a tackle during last week’s match with Fulham, told the media after the match that his team were dominant against the Red Devils. Diogo Dalot played at left-back for a beleaguered United.
“It was a very good performance and we were the best team from the first minute,” Silva told evertontv.
“I am really pleased with what we did. We scored good goals and had fantastic support from our fans. We worked as a team from the first minute and scored in important moments of the game.
“We played with quality, were solid without the ball and earned an important three points. Even with the early goal we scored, we kept pressing Manchester United high. We never gave them the chance to feel comfortable.
“It was really important; it was what we did against Arsenal and has to be our aim. When you score early it is important, but we kept pressing high, playing fast and enjoying the ball.
“In this way, we can keep clean sheets against these types of teams, be comfortable and give our goalkeeper a quiet afternoon. I want our players to enjoy the moment – and our supporters also.”
Alves screamer denies Milan
Portugal veteran Bruno Alves scored a superb late free-kick to earn Parma a 1-1 draw with AC Milan and take another step towards safety in Serie A. The Gialloblu trailed to Samu Castillejo’s goal with less than four minutes left on the clock when Alves stepped up and curled his shot past Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.
The goal was Alves’ 4th of the season in the Italian top flight and his second from a set-piece. The 37-year-old also earned a draw for Parma with an unstoppable free-kick against Chievo back in December. “It was very important for me, because I was injured for three weeks, no days off, I gave my best to recover and help the team,” Alves told Sky Sport Italia.
“The players all worked very hard to get the result. This is what happens when you are positive, you try hard and believe. You get the result. It’s really important to keep this energy, to believe we can do better. Thank you to the fans, it was a beautiful game and I am so, so happy to have joined Parma this year.”
Vieirinha makes emotional cameo on PAOK’s big day
PAOK Salonika won the Greek title for the first time in 34 years with a resounding 5-0 victory over Levadiakos on Sunday. Portuguese duo Vieirinha and Sérgio Oliveira both took part as PAOK clinched the title and remained undefeated heading into next week’s final round of matches in the Super League.
For club captain Vieirinha, an emotional appearance for the team he has represented across two spells. The former Porto man was forced off during PAOK’s previous match at Larissa with an injury that has reportedly ended his season. However, such is the affection for Vieirinha he was introduced during stoppage time on Sunday to stand near the touchline and soak up the closing minutes.
Nani winner in MLS; more Portuguese assists, goals and red cards
Portugal winger Nani is enjoying a fine period with new club Orlando City in MLS, with the former Sporting man having all the luck as he scored a late winner to make it four goals in his last three matches in the United States.
Orlando beat Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0 on Saturday evening thanks to an 88th minute goal by their winter signing. Nani found himself in the way as Sacha Kljestan took aim inside the penalty area, and the ball deflected off the Portuguese and nestled in the net for a dramatic late breakthrough. Elsewhere in MLS, Pedro Santos scored his second goal of the season for Columbus Crew in their 3-1 defeat to Portland Timbers.
In Scotland, Daniel Candeias was in good form with two assists as Rangers won 3-1 at Hearts. The Portuguese first found Ryan Jack with a smooth pass with the outside of the boot, before later delivering a pinpoint cross to the back post for Nikola Katic to convert.
On loan-Manchester United goalkeeper Joel Castro continues to start for Belgians Kortrijk in their bid to earn a Europa League place, and kept goal for their 2-1 win at Cercle Brugge. Also in Belgium, Portuguese full-back Jorge Teixeira was dismissed for Sint-Truiden in their 1-1 draw at AS Eupen.
Also receiving his marching orders this weekend was Tiago Lopes, who was sent off for two first-half bookings for Kayserispor in their 3-1 defeat away at Galatasaray. Hélder Barbosa was again on the scoresheet in Turkey, but his goal was not enough to prevent Akhisarspor from losing 2-1 to Antalyaspor and Barbosa’s men look doomed to be relegated.
Also on the goals front, João Amaral scored in Lech Poznan’s 3-3 draw at Jagiellonia Bialystok in Poland. In Greece, Ricardo Vaz scored his third goal in four games from the penalty spot as OFI drew 1-1 with Asteras Tripolis, while Frederico Duarte scored from an assist by Benfica loanee Pedro Amaral in Panaitolikos’ 2-1 defeat to Aris.
In Slovenia, Jucie Lupeta found the net as Olimpija beat Gorica 3-1, while Pedro Eugenio got in on the action in Bulgaria with a goal in Beroe’s 2-0 win over Cherno More. Former Gil Vicente defender Ricardinho has five goals from just 21 appearances for Voluntari in Romania after getting another as his team drew 1-1 at Hermannstadt, though ex-Braga man Carlos Fortes missed a penalty in Universitatea Craiova’s 1-0 win at Astra.
José Gomes is close to securing Reading's survival from relegation in the English Championship after an impressive 1-1 draw at promotion-chasing Bristol City. Reading, who were four points adrift of safety in December, now find themselves five points clear of the drop zone with three matches to play, thanks to a recent run of just four defeats in 17 games.
While Gomes is hoping to remain in the English second tier, Troyes boss Rui Almeida has ambitions to secure promotion from France’s Ligue 2 following an excellent sequence of results. Almeida’s men beat Lorient 3-0 on Friday to make it seven wins and one draw from their last eight matches. Troyes are now 3rd in Ligue 2 with a four-point cushion in the playoffs with five games remaining.
Also on a strong run of form are Pedro Caixinha’s Cruz Azul in Mexico, where a 2-1 win over Pumas has put the team in a comfortable position to qualify for the championship playoffs. Caixinha’s side are undefeated in eight matches.
Finally, a sympathetic thought for Olympiakos coach Pedro Martins, whose side continue to demonstrate title-winning form to no avail. Faced with the impossible task of chasing down undefeated Greek leagues PAOK, Martins’ side have racked up eight consecutive wins, the most recent a 3-1 victory at Lamia. Olympiakos have won 14 of their last 15 matches in the league, with the dropped points coming in a defeat to the imperious PAOK.
By Sean Gillen