Photo by Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
By RYAN TOLMICH
Portugal’s disappointing defeat at the hands of underdogs Albania proved to be the final nail in Paulo Bento’s coffin.
The Portuguese Football Federation announced Thursday that it had terminated the 45-year-old manager’s contract by mutual consent.
“The Portuguese Football Federation announces that today, Sept. 11, the contractual relationship ends with Paulo Bento,” said the federation in a statement. “This was a decision made jointly between the Director of the FPF and Paulo Bento.
“We appreciate all that Paul Bento did for our team, including taking Portugal to Euro 2012 and the 2014 World Cup.”
Bento, who took charge of the team in 2010, led Portugal to a semifinal appearance in Euro 2012 before suffering a group stage exit at this summer’s World Cup.
Here are some more of Thursday afternoon’s news and notes from around the soccer world:
VAN GAAL REVEALS HIGH STANDARDS, YOUTH BEHIND WELBECK AND CHICHARITO DEPARTURES
With the arrival of manager Louis van Gaal over the summer, many expected a major overhaul of the Manchester United locker room. With six summer additions on their way into the Old Trafford ranks, some of Manchester United’s recent regulars were sure to become casualties.
Van Gaal revealed Thursday the reasoning behind parting ways with two of those casualties, Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck and Real Madrid loanee Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez. With an influx of forward talent and youth knocking at the door, van Gaal insisted that the pair of forwards were necessary departures.
“I have given all the players a chance to convince me of their qualities,” Van Gaal said. “Yes, Danny Welbeck was here from when he was nine. He has played, after [his 2010-11 loan at] Sunderland, three seasons at Manchester United but he doesn’t have the record of [Robin] Van Persie or [Wayne] Rooney and that is the standard. That is why we let him go – because of Falcao but also the youngsters who can fit in.
“We spoke with Danny Welbeck and also Chicharito before there was the chance we could get Falcao. We have to be fair about that because, for example, I see in that part [of the pitch] we have a lot of youth that can fit in. That is the policy and that is why I am here – to do that transformation, in this new process.”
COURTOIS INKS NEW DEAL WITH CHELSEA
The Thibaut Courtois era is set to continue for the foreseeable future.
Chelsea announced on Thursday that the Belgian goalkeeper, who had spent the previous three seasons with Atletico Madrid, has signed a new five-year deal with the London club.
“I’m very happy with this new deal, it’s really nice to have signed this new contract for five years,” Courtois said. “My future was already sorted but it’s nice to know I’m going to be here for another five years and now I can just concentrate on playing games.”
The 22-year-old keeper has started all three of Chelsea’s Premier League games this season, each of which resulted in a Chelsea victory.
What do you make of Bento’s departure? Will Welbeck or Chicharito prove van Gaal wrong? Where do you rank Courtois among the game’s top goalkeepers?
Share your thoughts below.