@FridayNightFM & @DaveAzzopardi are battling it out in the #OClassicoSave. Benfica are currently reeling from a resurgent Porto and are in pole position to claim their second championship in as many years.
Here WeStreamFM selects who would make a combined XI from the two squads since the save started...
Gerónimo Rulli (Benfica)
This was arguably the most difficult decision to make as Keylor Navas has given Dave’s Porto side some much needed quality between the sticks.
Rulli signed for Benfica this season and is already proving himself with some fantastic performances against Real Madrid in The Champions League. His signing has seen the sale of both Predrag Rajkovic & Odysseas Vlachodimos, a real show of intent & trust from his manager.
Alexis Saelemaekers (Benfica)
Signed from Anderlecht for £24m, Saelemaekers was an instant success at Benfica. His pace, dribbling and crossing ability gave him everything a modern-day full back needs. With his obvious talent it was obvious that he wasn’t going to be a Benfica player for long & when Juventus came in with £48.5m transfer offer, which activated his release clause, he was off to Turin but not before he had claimed 11 assists and a Europa League winners medal.
Rúben Dias (Benfica)
Whilst Portugal is famous for producing attacking talent, Rúben Dias’ work goes more unnoticed. The centre back has come through the ranks at Benfica and is often compared to Rio Ferdinand. He’s quick, strong and extremely composed and has the ability to pick out a pass when the time is right. At the start of the game his release clause is £54m and he’d be worth every penny of that fee if you’re managing one of the big clubs and have money to burn.
Éder Militão (Porto)
He was arguably the stand out performer in Season 1. Although comfortable at right back, Éder’s natural position is in the middle of the defence. His attributes show his versatility, but what stands out is his set-piece ability, he was deadly from freekicks and corners before being sold to Arsenal for £54m - a £51.4m profit!
Alex Telles (Porto)
There were strong shouts for Grimaldo or Ribero who have generated £68m in revenue for Benfica, but Telles has been Mr Consistent throughout this save. He’s built in the Brazilian mould, quick and effective in the opposition’s half. Season 1 was arguably Telles’ best, 6 goals and 11 assists can’t be sniffed at.
Oliver Ntcham (Porto)
After a slow start in Portugal and with Dave on the brink of selling him, Ntcham has really imposed himself in Porto’s midfield in recent months.
Now that he’s adjusted to Liga NoS & Dave’s tactical systems he has gone from strength to strength and finished the 2019/20 season with 20 goals & 7 assists.
Gedson Fernandes (Benfica)
A physical specimen and in my opinion one of the best Box to Box Midfielders in Football Manager 2019.
In Season 1, aged 19, he played 40 games, scored 22 goals and had 7 assists, he is the heart of the Benfica midfield. Real Madrid & Chelsea have been in for him, but his release clause has put them off, he gets disappointed but soon gets over it when he’s on the field being the star man.
Rúben Neves (Porto)
Dave’s marquee signing, £84m from Wolves and worth every penny. He orchestrates the midfield spraying passes to the attacking players and delivering from deadball situations. At 23 he could already be the next Pirlo & on £94k p/w I don’t see him wanting to leave the club any time soon.
Andrija Zivkovic (Benfica)
Now in his second stint with Benfica, Zivkovic plays off the right as an Inside Forward. He left Benfica for the Parisian lights, joining PSG for £49m onto to rejoin Benfica in 2020 for £26m and has walked back into the first team.
His attributes are clear to see, but watch you’ll see in the match engine is his ability to cut inside from the right onto his left foot and bend the ball inside the far post.
He may not be a household name, but under Dave, Otávio has been sensational scoring a goal every other game.
The tricky Brazilian plays off the left but is equally adept at playing behind the striker and with his flair and vision can be dangerously unpredictable.
Moussa Marega (Porto)
This was a tough call between Lincoln and Marega, but as Marega was the league’s top scorer in 2018/19 with 29 goals we’ve chosen the Malian beast to lead the line in our XI.
Marega’s best attributes are physical and at just over 6 foot he is a handful for any defence. He’s going to face tough competition in the 2020/21 season as Porto have signed another former player in André Silva.
It wasn’t until the best XI graphic was made that we realised how balanced the squad was with players from each team which I suppose is reflected in the performances of both teams in the save. That being said, what a great team this would be…