In my opinion the candidates are:
Helton: good keeper, brought extra tranquility to the squad and the fans, because I for one, couldn't watch no more every time there was a long shot on Baías' goal. :notlist: He only conceded one goal in all his appearences (and a late and dubious penalty that was), and gives us all, Porto fans, only reasons to worry about other positions. Shortly, in Helton we trust.
Pepe: already had this discussion in another thread with inacio. Won't repeat it, just saying that he was a huge surprise, and the key player of the defence.
Paulo Assunção: he was the key man of the title campaign, because Adriaanse's system only worked at all when he found out the right balance, and Paulo Assunção was the pendulum of that balance unquestionably.
Quaresma: he was flamboyant and decisive in the first half of the season. We could have lost the pace at the time, and it were Quaresma's goals and assists that kept us in the race. he wasn't so extravagant at the end of the season, but still easily one of the best, in the club and the league.
Lucho Gonzalez: what else is there to say? He runs, he attacks, he defends, he assists, he scores with his head, with his right foot, with his left foot, from the box, from outside, everything he does, is class and elegance. I think however, he can even better, because he hasn't had a vacation for one and a half or two years. He came from River Plate's campaign in Libertadores and Argentina NT straight into first team, and was the most used player. Sometimes he looked tired, but kept on going. Very professional and correct player too, nothing like the streotypical impulsive argentine.
In the end my vote is for Lucho, because he's just the type of player I like. I he leaves after the WC (and there are news that €20 million offers have been made already!), we'll miss him.
Other interesting players that deserve a mention were Raúl Meireles and Adriano. Raúl Meireles wasn't seen much last season, and it looked like it would be the same this one after the goal against Inter at San Siro, when Adriaanse said he must have been sleeping and took him out of the team for a few weeks. I must say though, that his display doesn't surprise me as much as it does to others. I first watched Raúl Meireles in a Toulon Tournament where he paired with Custódio at midfield. At the time, Custódio was already somewhat known and Sporting fans and others were saying he was about to enter Sporting's first team and to make an impression. Well, at the time I remember thinking Raúl Meireles was the real deal in that midfield. In thge next season or so, he impressed me enormously in Boavista and I even remember Abel Xavier being once on a TV interview and being asked what were his impressions of the portuguese league back then, and he said he was impressed with Meireles. Then, two seasons ago, we won the CL on a wednesday and I went out for the next weekend without access for any news source. When I came back on Sunday I read that Porto had signed him, and I was ecstatic. I confess I stopped believeing in him at some point in these last two years, but now I'm confident he can improve and be the excellent midfielder I antecipated after all.
Adriano was very important. He only made half of the season, but if he was here the whole year, he would probably be our top goal scorer and maybe the league's. I wasn't expecting that he would arrive in january in such a good physical shape either (I just cringe when thinking of all the brazilians we signed in January 2005, except for Ibson...). We started the season with what looked like an abundance of good or decent strikers. But then, McCarthy couldn't engage this season, Postiga was a virtual non-entity even before he left. Sokota injured himself for the season and Hugo Almeida just can't stop shooting from 40 meters, out of balance and without even seeing where the goal line is. :rollani:
The answer to all those flops was Adriano, and he finishes the season on a high.