In this week's Weekly Podium, Colombians take Gold with former Seattle Sounder Fredy Montero, while the stubborn reluctance of Arsenal and Arsene Wenger gets the Brick Award. Read on for a snapshot of the the best and worst in European football.
Gold: Fredy Montero (Sporting Lisbon)
Even the most optimistic of strikers couldn’t have dreamt a better debut than the one enjoyed by former Seattle Sounder, Fredy Montero. Montero, Sporting’s most expensive signing this offseason, introduced himself to the Portuguese League by scoring a hat-trick at home against Arouca.
Almost more impressive than the hat-trick itself, was the way in which Montero accomplished the feat, exhibiting the skills that have already endeared him to the Alvalade faithful. The Colombian scored his first goal by deflecting a cross with his stomach, bagged his brace with a perfectly placed header, and completed his hat-trick by controlling a cross on his shoulder, before lobbing the ball over the defender with his thigh, and smashing it in with his left foot.
Incredibly, Montero’s finishing had been criticized only a few weeks earlier, when he failed to score in the Guadiana Tournament, against West Ham and Sporting Braga.
Montero’s skill and work-rate should allow him to flourish in the Portuguese League. If he does, he will be battling it out with his Colombian national team teammate, Jackson Martinez, who led all scorers last season with FC Porto. Portugal appears to be a fruitful destination for Colombian strikers. It was with FC Porto that Falcao’s stock began to rise after his move from River Plate.