Hugo Almeida believes Sergio Conceicao can bring the glory days back to Porto, despite the loss of star striker Andre Silva.
If Benfica’s streak of four successive Primeira Liga titles was not bad enough, Porto were forced to part with their prized asset Silva after breaking Financial Fair Play rules – the Portugal international joining AC Milan in a deal reportedly worth €38million.
UEFA also confirmed Porto will be limited to 22 players instead of 25 in their Champions League squad for 2017-18.
It is not an ideal platform for club favourite an ex-Nantes boss Conceicao to start from at the Portuguese giants as he replaces Nuno Espirito Santo and attempts to deliver a league title for the first time since 2012-13.
Former Porto and Portugal star Almeida is hopeful Conceicao – who won three Primeira Liga titles during his time at the 27-time Portuguese champions – can restore the glory days at the Estadio Dragao.
— FC Porto (@FCPorto) June 12, 2017
“Benfica are one step forward than the other teams. But we will see,” Almeida – now playing for AEK Athens in Greece – told Omnisport.
“There will be a lot of movement in the market. New coach. Players go, players come. We will see.
“I hope Conceicao can deliver. What I saw from his work, he has done very well.
“He is a son of the club. A son of the city. We hope he brings happiness back to the club.
“For Porto it is not impossible to have so many years without winning anything.”
There is widespread belief that the fee received for 21-year-old Silva, who scored 16 league goals last season, was too low.
— FC Porto (@FCPorto) June 13, 2017
Asked whether Silva was sold relatively cheaply, Almeida, 33, said: “Sometimes the opportunity passes just one time.
“He is a young player. He scored a lot of important goals for Porto. It’s very good for him because Milan are a great club.”
Silva may not be the only high-profile departure from Porto, with midfielder Ruben Neves attracting interest.
Premier League champions Chelsea and Liverpool are reportedly eyeing the 20-year-old, who became the youngest player to start as captain in the Champions League – aged 18 years and 221 days in 2015.
Ruben, however, was only limited 13 Primeira Liga appearances last term – six of those starts.
“Ruben is a very young player. Hasn’t had many chances,” Almeida added. “Sometimes you have to go out for your opportunities. You have to make some choices to play. If it is better for the club and him, let’s do it.”
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