Welcome one and all, to the final in-play episode of Generation Guimaraes. Much like the title states, it will be a fight until the end as I look to leave Vitoria Guimaraes with as much silverware as possible before stepping down as manager.
Much like a lot of this project, it is a title fight with Porto, as well as battling away in European and domestic competitions. Check out the mid-season progress here to get you up to speed with this finale!
Plenty of competitions to challenge in, along with the January transfer window and our final youth intake here. There will be other bits and pieces such as the end of season review, including the player reviews amongst everything else!
The Save Aims & Rules
With how I want this save to work, I need to be mindful of the squad season on season. As there is a lot of emphasis on the youth setup as these players will shape the first team in seasons to come. Here are the aims and rules to give some context of what I’m trying to pull off here.
- Squad average age must be a maximum of 23 every season.
- Disrupt the Top 3 and become a top team in Portugal (Porto, Benfica, Sporting Lisbon). PASSED
- Win the club’s first league title. PASSED
- Win the club’s first European title.
- Win a domestic treble (League, Cup, Supercup or League Cup) or a European treble (League, Cup, European Cup) PASSED
If the average age is over 23, then I MUST RESIGN FROM MY POSITION!
Youth Intake 2027/28
Not to start on a sour note as such but I want to get this out of the way first and you’ll understand why…
This intake was rated at 2.5 stars. Only three players out of the eighteen (I think that’s the wrong number!) who trialled were deemed acceptable for signing. This was after a five star projection as well. These intakes are an absolute myth on this edition of FM!
January Transfer Window 2027/28
January isn’t really a month I like to go into the market too much but this time, it was taken out of my hands.
Whilst there was minimal outgoings, as you can see one of them was a major transfer. Young wonderkid winger Jordi Toril leaves for a club record £60 million to Liverpool. Toril became an instant hit after joining from Espanyol last season and his early season form had all major clubs chasing after him. I can only wish the lad all the best, he has the world at his feet for sure as you will see with the coveted awards he has just picked up.
Back up goalkeeper Carlao pushed through a move to Juventus for £9.5m in something which wasn’t expected. Carlao had been picking up a bit more game time this season so it was rather frustrating that he needed to be replaced this window.
We’ll start with the first team signings, those in blue are Director of Football signings which I will cover after.
After Jordi Toril’s exit, I made the decision to push Abdul Fatawu Issahaku as our starting right winger however, there was still a space to fill. Kristiyan Filipov was signed from Ludogorets for £4.3m which was a relatively cheap release clause. Filipov has good base starts but will be trained in the inside forward role which will integrate him into the tactics.
A new goalkeeper arrived in wonderkid Lucelio for £21.5m from Gremio. It wasn’t plan to get a new starting goalkeeper but when I saw his age and talent, I couldn’t say no for the price paid. This will give Jorgensen some competition for sure!
For our DoF Luis Campos, there was five signings with some I pushed him towards where others, he took upon himself.
Mohamed Aarab was signed from Le Havre for £53k (£155k) and for a full back I’m not too sure what his thinking was behind this signing. The next signing was winger Fousseyni Oulouguem from AC Ajaccio for £40.5k (£120k) who doesn’t look too bad but does need a lot of work technically and mentally.
Mohamed Bouzoubaa arrived from Almeria for £85k (£275k) and he does look like one for the future. More suited to central attacking midfield role in my opinion but the first team potential is there for sure. Benjamin Mas came in next from Amiens for £53k (£135k) and the winger looks to have some potential there if developed correctly within the youth squads. Lastly, Nicolas Audren came in from Havre AC for £65k (£170k) but the striker doesn’t look up to scratch for the standard. At 21 years of age, this could prove to be a waste of money.
Primeira Liga 2027/28
January – February
Into the football then and it was a very good couple of months in the league where my side amassed 29 points out of a possible 33. Again, Sporting were dispatched in a 3-0 victory and there was some empathic performances against Lusitania Lourosa (5-1) & Vitoria Setubal (4-0).
The points dropped saw an eventful 2-2 draw with rivals Boavista and a 0-0 with Benfica. Regardless, I’m happy with the form but it is always slim margins league wise in Portuguese football.
At this stage, Vitoria SC sit in first place however, Porto are more than keeping up being a point behind us with a game in hand. These last 6-7 matches will be absolutely crucial and our next match is a showdown with our league rivals!
March – May
A painful loss that could come back to haunt us as Porto prevail 2-1. Roko Simic equalised in the 86th minute in what I thought saved a point but a 95th minute penalty put us to the sword! I thought the decision was harsh but Porto then won their game in hand meaning the chase was on.
Looking at this, I’d say my side have the better run in but then gaining 5 points on Porto in five games is easier said than done in this league!
The following three fixtures saw us hold up our end of the bargain although, you could say three penalties in two games was our saving grace. After the penultimate game of the season though, things got very interesting…
Porto drew with Benfica and then fired a blank against Famalicao which really closed things up. Safe to say it was all nerves going into the final game.
It was slender against relegation battlers Rio Ave but a 2-1 win gave us the three points that was needed but did Porto stutter like we wished for?
Unfortunately it didn’t go in our favour, Porto ran emphatically to the title with a 5-0 victory in their last game! That late penalty that we gave away against Porto in that 2-1 loss essentially lost us the title…a severe blow as I edge towards the exit door.
Champions League Knockout Stage 2027/28
In the Champions League, whilst it looks like our progress was pretty short, this was the furthest the team has ever progressed whilst I was at the helm. A momentous 5-3 aggregate victory over Juventus was a massive achievement, punishing Juventus on the counter using our forward going pace. The second leg was a joy to behold.
However, in the quarter final AS Monaco bettered us and they were very awkward to play against, which is to their credit. A 4-1 aggregate loss saw my side crash out but all I wanted was progression in the Champions League this season and that’s what I got.
Domestic Cups 2027/28
Liga de Taça
Four times in a row this club has won this trophy, I’m definitely in the business of going for five! Semi-final time first though!
Well, it got very nervy! Terrible finishing from both teams saw us proceed to penalties however, Vitoria Guimaraes prevail 5-3 on penalties (0-0 AET). Sometimes it isn’t simple but we’re in the final with Porto (Shock!) and that’s all that matters. But how did we go?
VITORIA GUIMARAES ARE LIGA DE TAÇA 2027/28 CHAMPIONS!!!
I feel my side were the better of the two in terms of chances created and considering Francisco Ortega our left wing back had to cover on his unnatural right side for the game, we’ve definitely put the work in to secure this trophy once again!
Taça de Portugal
In this trophy, we’ll pick up from the quarter final stage. Again, I’m aiming to take it all in this competition.
After easing past Vizela 3-0 in the quarter finals, Liga 2 side Nacional da Madeira had worked themselves into the semi finals and in the first leg they held us to a rather frustrating 0-0 draw. The second leg the goals came from two defenders in Anselmo Garcia McNulty & youngster Andre Luiz, bringing a 2-0 victory. 2-0 victory on aggregate sees us into the final against…you guessed it, PORTO!
VITORIA GUIMARAES ARE TAÇA DE PORTUGAL CHAMPIONS 2027/28!!!
In my last showdown with Porto, it took a Andre Almeida penalty in extra time to seal the deal after missing an abundance of chances during the game, our shot map says it all! I found it very befitting that an original player from the start of the project scored the last goal of my management here!
End of Season Review 2027/28
Before I clear out my office in Guimaraes, let’s reflect on the season that has just passed us by.
A domestic treble covers the cracks over the narrow title loss but nevertheless it’s still a trophy laden season for the club.
So, who were my three top performers this season? Let’s take a look!
Andre Almeida has gone from strength to strength since changing his role from a DLP (su) to AP (su) in central midfield. He’s appeared on player reviews a few times now but this season from a creativity perspective, Andre has been spectacular with 28 assists in all competitions! Just what you want from your playmaker, 230 key passes made in 40 starts shows his willingness to make things happen.
Next is goalkeeper Filip Jorgensen. He had no choice but to welcome competition in Lucelio in January but his performances over the season as whole, have been top class. 25 clean sheets which is a club record and only 16 conceded, saving 83% of shots saved shows his presence between the sticks.
The captain – Anselmo Garcia McNulty. A modern centre back who can carry the ball, play key forward passes but ultimately became a set piece king scoring a crazy 17 goals from defence! A presence at every set piece, whether it was a header, volley or rebound AGM was there to plant balls in the net!
I’ve been through it all here, the success, the heartbreak, players turning their back on the club and taking players to the next level. A lot has been achieved and Vitoria Guimaraes has been put on that next level with Portugal’s elite clubs. The office is cleared out and boxed up, now it is time to go…
The sign of staff following out of the exit door shows the effect that we’ve had on the club, it’s been a pleasure but this marks another adventure closed.
As promised at the start of season 7, there will be a save review blog where I go through our achievements, stats, objectives, using a DoF and do a five year sim into the future to see if Vitoria Guimaraes remain dominant in Portugal!
Well the managing side of things are done, see you for the save review soon! Take care out there all of you.