Let Jesualdo work, let Zeca grow

A Portugusse journalist writes about Fereira, Zeca and Vieirinha

By Sérgio Krithinas
Works for “O’Jogo”

Talking about Greece these days in Portugal is like seeing the future. “This is where this huge crisis will take us soon”, that’s what people say. There’s not time neither attention to look beyond that and nobody is really paying attention about football in Greece. Even if we have three Portuguese men there playing with the biggest cards: Jesualdo Ferreira, Vieirinha and, more surprinsigly, Zeca.

The head coach of Panathinaikos is confirming this season all his qualities as a project men. Don’t expect him to have a great impact when he grabs in something, but let him work. Like he has proven in the past in the Portuguese youth national teams, in Braga and in FC Porto, Jesualdo is a methodic and organized football man, who cares more about the future than he does about the present. In a shattered club like Panathinaikos, don’t ask him to win trophies yesterday; let him work and you’ll have the trophies but, more important, you’ll have young players gaining experience and quality and you will be building a team for many years.

Like Fernando Santos, his image is not the best in Portugal. Again like Santos, he needs to smile more often, he needs to be more friendly with people, he needs to look more relaxed. Although he has only won one Portuguese title in five years ahead of the three Portuguese top clubs, Santos gained the respect of football fans for what he did in Greece, especially with AEK and now with the national team. Jesualdo has everything to follow the same path: just let him do his work, give him the power to work with the kids and let him grow them. The fruits that you’ll rip will be delicious.

And Vieirinha, another unknown player for the majority of football fans in Portugal. The image that he left here, when he was playing for small teams like Leixoes, was not the best. Skilful but not objective, a typical portuguese player who doesn’t know where the goal is not even if he had a GPS attached to him. Over here, most people don’t realize how he has developed, becoming one of the best players in the Greek league, where he has been hiding from our eyes. In a country that has produced so many quality wingers in the last years (Ronaldo, Nani, Quaresma, Danny…), he will have a tough time to grab a spot in the Portuguese national team. Now he must choose if he wants to be king for a day or prince for a life time: if he chooses to play for Portugal, he might have one or two caps for the country where he was born; if he takes the Greek chance, he will gain a place in the country’s history. It’s a personal decision, but if I was in his place… I would go for history.

Finally Zeca, one of the most interesting talents that has risen in the Portuguese league last season. Once more, the top clubs over here were too busy chasing for Argentineans and Brazilians and let him escape. Will he ever be Cristiano Ronaldo? No, he won’t. But why does he have to be Cristiano Ronaldo? How many are Cristiano Ronaldo? Just… Cristiano Ronaldo! He has enough talent to be regularly a choice for the Portuguese national team in the future. Again, let him grow. I just hope he doesn’t hide all his career in Greece, where nobody will pay much attention to what he has been doing – exactly what happened with Vieirinha. And, back to the beginning, Jesualdo Ferreira is the right man to make Zeca another huge mistake from the Portuguese top clubs.