Lisbon clubs SL Benfica and Sporting Clube de Portugal have each swooped to strengthen for the 2008/09 campaign. Sporting have signed Portugal international Marco Caneira from Valencia CF, while Benfica have recruited Real Madrid CF winger Javier Ángel Balboa in a €4m deal.
Balboa, a product of the Spanish champions' youth system, has signed a four-year contract at Benfica. The 23-year-old spent last season on loan Real Racing Club Santander where he was a regular starter, but was peripheral when he returned to Madrid at the beginning of last term, making only five league and two UEFA Champions League appearances in 2007/08. The Equatorial Guinea international is Benfica's third signing the summer, after Hassan Yebda and Portugal Under-21 international Ruben Amorim. Balboa said: "It was easy to reach an agreement. I want to win the title. It was important that Quique [Sánchez Flores, Benfica's coach] showed confidence in me, but the fact that Benfica are a great club in European football was also a factor." Benfica, who finished fourth in the Portuguese Liga last season, will play in the UEFA Cup next season.
Sporting, meanwhile, have confirmed the signing of Marco Caneira from Valencia CF for an undisclosed fee. The 29-year-old full-back, capped 25 times by Portugal, has signed a four-year contract with the Portuguese Liga runners-up. "It's with great satisfaction and pride that I come back," said the player upon confirming a second stint at Sporting having come up through the youth ranks at the club. "I feel really happy with the choice I have made after leaving Valencia. I am so happy to have had the chance to come back to Sporting." Paulo Bento's team are automatic qualificants for the group phase of the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League.
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