Portugal win first ever UEFA Nations League as Ronaldo revels in the glory


Portugal beat the Netherlands 1-0 in the final of the first ever UEFA Nations League to crown only their 2nd ever international trophy and both have been won with Cristiano Ronaldo in the side.

The win which was deserved only underlined Portugal’s status, after all they did win the last European Championships in 2016, but this win will sit nicely with a team that have to surely be regarded as one of the favourites to win Euro 2020 next year.

While the European Championships remain much more important than the Nations League this was still an incredibly special night for Portugal given that the final was in Portugal. Ronaldo was part of the Portuguese team who in the 2004 final lost against Greece in what was seen as a shock 1-0 defeat. This happened in Portugal in front of their home fans, so even though this isn’t another European Championship it was a UEFA final and surely meant a lot to Ronaldo and his teammates.

But it wasn’t Ronaldo who was the goal scoring hero that went to Goncalo Guedes who struck what turned out to be the winning goal on the hour mark. Portugal deserved to win the game and had more clear cut chances, but they also looked more hungry and determined for the win.

As for the Netherlands, reaching a final marks a huge improvement for them, after reaching the 2010 World Cup final the Orange as they are so famously called have really struggled this decade and failed to qualify for major tournaments. They look to be back on the right track, but they will have to be less naïve in the future if they are to remain consistent and win trophies.

The match was very telling on how one team wanted the win and the other in the Netherlands felt that their semi-final victory over England where they won the match 3-1 after being a goal down was their personal final.

Ronaldo played his part too as he usually does and was seen in defence giving orders- when one sees Ronaldo like this just like in the Euro 2016 final when he was forced off with injury, but supported the players from the side lines one sees a potential future coach in the player.

And what of the UEFA Nations League? Has it been a success? Well in a nutshell yes and it does give the football fan something extra to cheer about and watch after the domestic season has ended. What is clear is that when it comes down to the semi-finals and final we are not watching friendly exhibition games anymore, all teams at that point want to win, that is the positive of it. However it still has a long way to go in convincing some of the bigger nations in the group stages of the competition to get their best game on, some like Italy and Spain didn’t seem too bothered. With time that might just change.


Valencia eye Champions League spot via the Europa League

Goncalo Guedes

Valencia could secure an alternative route into next season’s Champions League, as their La Liga top four continues to falter.

Back to back defeats against Atletico Madrid and Eibar, in league action, has pushed Marcelino’s side down to sixth place, three points behind Getafe and Sevilla, with three games to go.

However it is not over yet in terms of a second successive season in Europe’s premier competition for Los Che.

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Guedes return to Valencia confirmed

Goncalo Guedes

Valencia have confirmed the signing of Portuguese international Goncalo Guedes for a fee of £35 million, ending their summer long pursuit of striker, ahead of the La Liga transfer deadline.

After impressing on loan at the Mestalla last season, Guedes was highlighted as a must-buy target by the club, alongside fellow loanee Geoffrey Kondogbia.

A permanent deal was sown up for midfielder Kondobia with Inter Milan at the start of the summer, however negotiations for Guedes have proved far more difficult.

Parent club PSG were well aware of both his performances in 2017-18, and Valencia’s willingness to bring him into the club on a permanent deal.

That has led to weeks of talks, with the deal seemingly dead just a few weeks ago, however Marcelino has pushed the club’s board hard to make sure that a deal was struck with the French champions.

Valencia have not been shy in the transfer market this summer, spending over £110 million in total, to bring in some stellar name on permanent and loan deals.

However within all of their dealings, the sense remained that Guedes was still Marcelino’s primary target, and his persistence has eventually paid off.

Guedes scored six goals in all competitions last season, as Valencia secured fourth place in La Liga, and a return to the Champions League for 2018-19.

However it was his pace and ability to get the rest of the team higher up the pitch that was his primary weapon for Valencia last season.

The link up between him, Santiago Mina and and Rodrigo Moreno, as part of a three man attack, was vital in pushing a counter attacking Valencia up the table, and posing an intermittent title challenge to Barcelona.

Valencia have started the season in low key fashion, drawing 1-1 at home to Atletico Madrid on the opening weekend, before losing 2-0 at Espanyol.

Summer signing Daniel Wass is essentially playing in Guedes’ role from last season, and whilst the former Celta Vigo man has positive aspects to his game, he does not possess the same raw speed and creativity.

Guedes has been signed in time for Valencia’s weekend trip to neighbours Levante, who have started the season with a win and a loss, but Marcelino is likely to only use him from the bench at the Ciutat de Valencia.

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