PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 09 March 2011 16:28

Danny the magnet for more Portuguese talent moving to Zenit?

Russians hoping to add Vieirinha and Coentrao to successful trio

As well as reportedly on the verge of signing Vieirinha, Zenit Saint Petersburg are one of a whole string of clubs said to be chasing Benfica and Portugal left-back, Fabio Coentrao.

PortuGOAL took advantage of our recent collaboration with Russian football expert James Appell to find out more about how Zenit’s current Portuguese trio are rated in Russia, and whether there was any veracity in the Coentrao rumour.
“For many reasons Danny is the most popular of the Portuguese trio - mainly because of his many talents as a footballer, but also because he “grew up” as a footballer in Russia, first with Dinamo and now with Zenit, and because he speaks Russian, unlike Alves and Meira. Russians tend to like players who show an interest in Russia beyond the football pitch, and Danny certainly has made efforts to ingratiate himself in a country which can often seem impenetrable to foreigners,” says Appell.

Respect for Alves

Danny“Alves has gained a real respect as one of the Russian league’s best defenders, though you wouldn’t expect any less from a man who reportedly cost €22m. Meira has long been considered a back-up - though a reliable one - but it’s clear that, unlike Danny, who seems to have settled in well and become acculturated, neither Alves nor Meira has a commitment to Russia besides their contracts with Zenit.
“As for Zenit’s penchant for Portuguese players, it’s partly due to Zenit wanting to accommodate Danny, who is the heart of their team. Any way they can get him to stay at the club must be positive for them, and if that means buying a few “friends” then so be it. That’s the cynical way of putting it, of course - it may work the other way round, in that those players may well have been won over by Danny’s successes and wanted to join him.

“However, I don’t see Coentrao being the man they sign - the talk is they’re chasing Genoa’s Criscito or Barcelona’s Maxwell, both of which sound more believable targets.”
by Tom Kundert

Follow PortuGOAL on Twitter and Facebook
Comments (17)
Zenit, European top 5?
17 Thursday, 14 April 2011 22:54
Fat chance for all the believers that russian football will ever star in the higher echelons of european football. Zenit top 5? You havent even made it into this stage of the europa league and you could buy THE ENTIRE BRAGA LINE UP TWICE WITH WHAT U PAID FOR BRUNO ALVES. Despite the tons of money that are thrown every year into teams like zenit, cska and kyiv we are yet to see any visible results at the champions league level, not to mention europa league outside cska's noteworthy win against sporting a few years back. As for those that say that the fact that gazprom and other russian state owned billion dollar companies backing these teams will maount to something the fact remains that the russian championship lacks the glamour or visibility of any decent european one, Portugal included. Russians with brains dump their money in other leagues like the premier, not same old mother land football. The the portuguese league is the most efficient exporter of stars to the top clubs comes down to one thing: population. And if you must know Porto pays some of the highest salaries in europe, on par with teams like tottenham. Tonight was a stark show of this lack of quality with russia's remaining top flight teams eliminated by a demolishing porto, a jittery benfica and a 10 man braga who I might add had a 8 million euro budget this year.
About Fabio..
16 Saturday, 12 March 2011 16:11
All of you saying he wouldn't go to Russia because the big boys are all sniffing around tend to forget that before he went to Zenit, Alves was being linked heavily with Real, Barca, Chelsea, City, etc. Anything is possible when big $$ is involved.
(E Gomes / NJ / SLB)
15 Thursday, 10 March 2011 17:09
Benfica has no need in Danny, believe me, mate. He is a good player, but nothing more to say. Current Benfica is squad is too strong for him, in my opinion.
Danny has always been class
14 Thursday, 10 March 2011 14:05
There's a ton of money in the Russian League. The fact is that the clubs there are able to pay much higher salaries than Portuguese clubs.
Although the quality of football might be better in Portugal, and some would debate that, the Russian league has been moving up the rankings very quickly. They still may beat us out of that 3rd Champions League spot.

I find it funny how so many Portuguese fans feel that their players should be at the biggest clubs in the world. Like being at Genoa is worse than Braga. Who's is kidding who here (Eduardo).
Moving from Benfica to Zenit would be a lateral move for Coentrao, and only a financial gain. He also has bigger clubs looking at him.
I am a big fan of Danny, and would love it if Benfica could nab him, He has mentioned that he was most likely leaving, but he is loved at Zenit. Him going out and learning Russian and integrating himself into the community shows how much class he has.
Sports Illustrated in the US, had a great article about Mourinho. It was titled, The Special One: The best manager in the world, no matter the sport. One of the important things he mentiones, is being able to speak to his players in their own language. He might speak with the team in that countries language or English, but on a personal level he always speaks to the player in his native tongue. Huge relationship builder.
Same goes to players with fans.

SI usually post old magazine articles online after a few weeks. If the site allows, I'll be happy to post a link to it when it happens. It was a very good piece.
13 Thursday, 10 March 2011 09:12
Fabio won't go to our championship. Because he is not crazy. Real/Barca/Man U/Bayern/Chelsea/Liverpool are waiting for him, according to press news. He won't go to Russia.
I doubt it'll happen
12 Thursday, 10 March 2011 03:00
I seriously doubt Coentrao will move to Russia, It's usually second class players or players that grew up in Russia that play there, But think about it, If you were in Coentrao shoes and teams in England and Spain are after you signature why would you even consider Russia?
Wow. thats cool, "Lord HIgh Executioner"
11 Thursday, 10 March 2011 02:42
How Portuguese people are so arrogant?! Who are you to talk. You dont even seem like a Portuguese, we clearly want our Portugese players to either big leagues (such as England, Spain).... or to ZON Sagres! You go on about Russian money in St. Petersburg, even though you dont think about the players.... money is a huge factor, but a quality player would (id think) to go to a team like... say Real Madrid, or Inter, then Zenit. Veirinha obviously is a young talent for PAOK and can go places, im just suprised one of the bigger Portugese clubs, or a bigger club in Europe wouldnt want him, and also, Coentrao, forget it.... Hes being tracked by Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, and Inter Milan!!! If he doesnt leave for one of them, that would be a very bad descision in my opinion.... hes too good for Zenit I think...
Russian league isn't a bad choice
10 Thursday, 10 March 2011 02:06
I don't understand why people say moving to russia is bad. For players like Vierinha, clearly he won't make it to the top clubs, at least for now. Playing for a club that is constantly in champions league is not a bad choice. Plus, he will gain more exposure to the NT as Bento definitely keep an eye on how alves and danny performs. I don't think there's a spot for him now in either Porto or Benfica. Earning some money in his prime years should not be blamed. Plus, it's not like he turned down Man Utd or Real to go to Russia. In terms of attraction and competitiveness, Russia/Portuga l, Benfica/Zenith are on par. Vierinha went to Greece years ago because clearly Porto didn't want him and nor were Sporting or Benfica. Why should he go back now?

I really think people should be more objective and not living in the dreams. Why should the players be blamed, when clubs like Benfica are just throwing tons of money for South Americans instead of giving chances for their youth players?
Very Sad
9 Wednesday, 09 March 2011 22:40
Its very sad that Portuguese players are recruiting fellow countrymen to join them in less competive leagues in europ and plucking them away from Liga Zon Sagres. First Turkey now Russia. Imagine how fun. Liga Zon Sagres would improve if RQ7, Simao, Manuel Fernades, Hugo Almeida, Danny, Bruno Alves, and Meira were apart of it. I'm all for Portuguese players moving to bigger leagues and teams for the $ and grow their game I don't like when they go to leagues that are just as good as our league if not worse just for the $$ All of the players listed above would have had Portuguese teams offering them spots on their teams.
8 Wednesday, 09 March 2011 21:46
In a couple of years Zenit will be one of 4-5 best teams in Europe...
uhh Russia a small market??? dont think so
7 Wednesday, 09 March 2011 20:46
please people dont be ignorant. The russian league is prob one of if not the RICHEST leagues in the world. Zenit/St Petersburgh small market...? lol there are 4.5 million people in that city. Roughly half the population of portugal and 4 x the population of lisbon. Higher population than any European cities other than moscow istanbul and london. Why must portuguese people be so arrogant sometimes. Zenit by the way is owned by GazProm which is the largest extractor of natural gas in the world and the largest russian company. The russian league has no limits....our league unfortunatley does.
Russian Clubs
6 Wednesday, 09 March 2011 20:27
@Dave while I agree with you that the Russian league isn't considered a big time league and I agree with you that it is an inferior league even compared to Portugal, don't underestimate how much money these corrupt ex-commies have to throw around... they're sitting on a ton money from oil companies (which is how abramovich made his billions to by chelsea)... in many cases they have more cash to splash on transfers on salaries because that's the only way you can seduce a player to move out there.... bruno alves, danny, and a few others have left for portugal on big money transfers to russia
Russia has MONEY
5 Wednesday, 09 March 2011 20:25
It is not because of the funds that Russia is a smaller league it comes down to players not wanting to travel that far out.

Most would prefer to do their time closer to the Med or in England.. hence Russia's smaller stature in European football.

Also because of their winters the players would play through their summers when most of their children would be off from school.. so there are some barriers to the Russian League not to mention the geography and culture barriers.

I also hope Coentrao does not go there.. same as I would hate for him to go to the Portuguese Wasteland of Snoria A where defenders will take liberties with one of Portugal's greatest. We would like Coentrao to keep his knees and ankles intact for winning campaigns with the National Team.
4 Wednesday, 09 March 2011 19:53
I'm not worried about Coentrao. He'll move to a team like Madrid or Liverpool.

Fernando Meira was a very good defender in his prime. If he's not getting too much playing time, why doesn't he go to his boyhood club, Vitoria Guimaraes? He would be a great addition to the Liga Zon Sagres.
small market
3 Wednesday, 09 March 2011 19:39
I doubt Zenit will be able to lure Fabio. Russia is a small market and with teams in England, Spain and Italy (all with more money) chasing him he's likely to stay in western europe. The Russian league like the Portuguese league is used as a stepping stone to move up. With Portugal ranking higher than Russia in the UEFA Coefficient a move to Zenit wouldn't be smart.
2 Wednesday, 09 March 2011 18:40
I really hope Coentro doesnt go to Russia
ddint he say he wanted to leave
1 Wednesday, 09 March 2011 17:58
this whole article sounds believable and makes sence but didnt he say he was looking to possibly come back to portugal after next season when his contract expires. perhaps this is zenits way convincing him to stay?

Add your comment