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Algarve football round-up: comings and goings

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr will play against Benfica this Thursday, July 20, at Estádio do Algarve

The summer merry-go-round at Portimonense continues unabated despite the start of the 2023/4 re-named Liga Portugal Betclic season moving ever closer.

Central defender Park Ji-soo has finally left in a €2.5 million deal for China’s Wuhan Three Towns where the South Korean will earn €1.5 million per season as opposed to the €60,000 he was receiving here. Also gone are Zié Ouattara to second division União de Leiria where he is about to be joined by Bryan Rochez, and Ricardo Matos on loan to Belenenses.

Still facing an uncertain future in the Algarve are goalkeeper Kosuke Nakamura, wanted by Fenerbahçe, Monaco and Lyon, Wolfsburg and Udinese target Filipe Relvas and Pedrão who has suitors in Turkey and Russia.

In addition, the hoped-for return of Shoya Nakajima has not materialised as the Japanese winger has signed with home club Urawa Reds.

Lastly, former captain Moufi has not moved to Burnley as previously widely reported but can now be found in Croatia on a three-year contract with Hajduk Split.

On the training pitch, matters are not improving either for Portimonense with a midweek goalless draw with a second-string Celtic eleven followed by a 4-1 loss to the same club on Saturday – both games were played behind closed doors at Quinta do Lago’s exclusive The Campus complex although some Scottish fans did not get the message. Next up is a game with Porto on Wednesday, which, according to O Jogo, will take place at Vale do Garrão. Time not yet announced.

Farense, who are also struggling to complete their squad, have also failed to win their two friendlies to date, losing 1-0 to Wolverhampton Wanderers before going down 5-1 to Al Nassr, with Cristiano Ronaldo watching from the Stadium of the Algarve stands having just ended his holidays. He should be returning to action for his Saudi club against Benfica this Thursday at the same venue (8.30 kick-off) with the Portuguese champions going on to play Celta Vigo the following evening.

Cardiff faces Braga in Lagos this Wednesday, July 19, and then Porto on Saturday at the former Euro’2004 venue (7pm). Braga also play Bristol Rovers in Lagos on Saturday and Roma in Albufeira next Wednesday.

By Skip Bandele
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Skip Bandele escaped to the Algarve almost 25 years ago and has been with the Algarve Resident since 2003. His writing reflects views and opinions formed while living in Africa, Germany and England as well as Portugal.