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Wednesday, 07 October 2009 14:40

“Braga a surprise, Sporting a disappointment” - Pedro Mendes

Midfielder talks about Scotland experience

Fresh from his call-up to Carlos Queiroz’s Portugal squad, Pedro Mendes has offered his thoughts on the early stages of the new Liga Sagres season, while giving an update on his situation in Scotland.

The former Porto midfielder, who was part of Jose Mourinho’s all-conquering Dragons team of 2004, insists that Braga’s 100% start to the new campaign is an exciting development. Meanwhile, the 30-year-old says he is not thinking about a return to his homeland in the near future.

“I follow Portuguese football on television,“ he told Maisfutebol. “This year we have a big surprise in Braga. It is creating the start of an extraordinary season. We have one disappointment, Sporting, who are a long way from first place. FC Porto and Benfica are in reasonable distance from the top. Guimaraes (where Mendes started his career) are having a slightly disappointing time and are below expectations.

“Will I come back to Portugal? I do not know. I can’t say yes or no, because football is uncertain. I have a contract to fulfil, then we’ll see. For now, my future is with Rangers.”

Mendes, who helped the Gers to the league championship last year, is currently enjoying his second season in Glasgow, where he has been since last summer’s switch from Portsmouth. Asked about his expectations for the season, the twice-capped midfielder hints at another close-fought battle for the title with arch rivals Celtic.

“In Scotland there are two major contenders. Last season was decided on the last game and this is often the case. The fight is even almost to the last match, with Rangers and Celtic in contention and an exciting finale.

“Why Scotland? I was fine at Portsmouth, but I decided to change mainly for a new challenge. Rangers is a historical club and offers exceptional conditions for its players. The fans are passionate about football and create an atmosphere similar to that of English football. This is my second year here, the first went well and the team were champions again, now I hope for the best for the second.”

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