Raul Meireles

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Raul Meireles
Raul Meireles.jpg
0Full Name Raul José Trindade
0Date of Birth 17 March 1983
0Place of Birth Porto, Portugal
0Position Midfielder
0Chelsea career 2011 - 2012
0Debut 10 September 2011
0Games (goals) 48 (6)
0Other clubs Boavista
Aves (loan)

Raul Meireles (born 17 March 1983) is a Portuguese international midfielder who played for Chelsea for one year from 2011 until 2012, having joined from Liverpool in August 2011 for a fee of around £12m. He had previously played for Porto, where he won multiple titles, having started his career at Boavista. A versatile central midfielder, who can play in both defensive and attacking midfield roles, he contributed to Chelsea's FA Cup and UEFA Champions League triumphs during the 2011-12 season. He left to join Fenerbahçe in September 2012.


Before Chelsea


Meireles began his career at Boavista, in his native Porto. Having worked his way up through the youth ranks, the midfielder was loaned to second-tier Clube Desportivo das Aves, where he would spend the first two seasons of his senior career. He returned to Boavista for the start of the 2003-04 season, and soon made his debut in an impressive display against Benfica. Meireles went on to make 29 league appearances during the season.


After one season at Boavista, Meireles moved across the city to the Estádio do Dragão, signing for Porto on a five-year contract. A bit part player during the 2004-05 season, with 10 of his 13 league appearances coming as a substitute, Meireles played more regularly during the following season, contributing to Porto's league and cup triumphs, and established himself in the side thereafter. In addition to playing an important role in midfield, Meireles contributed occasional goals, including a goal against Chelsea in the Champions League first knockout round. The midfielder would go on to win consecutive Portuguese League titles in 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09, in addition to two further Portuguese Cups, in 2009 and 2010.


In the summer of 2010 Meireles moved to England to sign for Liverpool, ostensibly as a defensive midfield replacement for the departing Javier Mascherano. Having been signed by new Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson, who would last just a few months in the job, the midfielder's season burst into life after Kenny Dalglish replaced the Englishman at the helm; Meireles scoring five goals in six Premier League matches from mid-January, including the only strike in a win against Chelsea in early February. The Portuguese midfielder's form in the second half of the season would see him win the PFA Fans' Player of the Year award.

Surprisingly, given his impressive first season in England, Meireles started the season as a substitute for the Anfield club, with Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish preferring newly-signed British midfielders to the experienced Portuguese international. With his future at Anfield in doubt, on the final day of the summer transfer window Meireles submitted a transfer request in order to secure a move to Chelsea. Meireles then signed for the Blues on a four-year deal, for an undisclosed fee reported to be in the region of £12 million, re-joining his former manager at Porto André Villas-Boas.

Chelsea career

Meireles started the first Chelsea match following his deadline day signing; making his debut in a 2-1 away win against Sunderland. He started the match in defensive midfield, before playing in a more advanced role, and provided an assist for the second Chelsea goal; a long, measured through ball from which Daniel Sturridge finished. Following his impressive debut, Meireles started the next match, making his European debut for the Blues in a 2-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen. He scored his first goal for Chelsea in a home match against Genk, and also opened the scoring against eventual Premier League champions Manchester City in a 2-1 home win in December. Meireles was reportedly unhappy following the sacking of Villas-Boas in early March, but he continued to feature under interim manager Roberto Di Matteo and went on to help Chelsea to progress in the FA Cup and UEFA Champions League, scoring memorable goals against Birmingham City and Benfica in the respective competitions. He also put in strong defensive displays in the Champions League semi-final matches against Barcelona, though he missed the final through suspension. He had earlier appeared in the FA Cup Final as a late substitute, and finished his first season in west London with winners medals in two major competitions.

At the start of the 2012-13 season Meireles seemed to have lost his place in the starting line-up, coming on as a late substitute in the opening two Premier League matches. He did start the third league match of the season; a 2-0 home win against Newcastle United in which he formed an effective defensive midfield partnership with John Obi Mikel, but with his place in the first team set-up remaining uncertain it would prove to be his last match for the club. Meireles signed for Fenerbahçe on 3 September, for a reported fee of £8m. [1]


Meireles represented Portugal at various youth levels, and experienced early international success as part of the victorious Portuguese UEFA European Under-16 Championship side in 2000. He went on to represent his country at under-17, under-19 and under-20 level, before making the step up to the under-21s. Meireles appeared at the 2004 European Under-21 Championships, helping his side to the semi-finals; a match that he missed due to suspension. He then represented Portugal at the 2004 Olympics, though his side went out in the group stage.

Meireles made his senior debut in 2006, and was selected for Portugal's Euro 2008 squad. Having appeared in two group stage matches he was a 31st minute substitute in the quarter-final loss to Germany. Meireles started regularly for his country thereafter, and was a key player in qualifying for the 2010 World Cup. He went on to start every match at the tournament proper, though Portugal were knocked out by eventual champions Spain in the Round of 16.


Season Prem FA Cup League Cup Europe Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
2011-12 28 2 6 2 0 0 11 2 0 0 45 6
2012-13 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
Total 31 2 6 2 0 0 11 2 0 0 48 6


# Season Date Year Competition Opponent Score Result Venue
12011-1219 October2011UEFA Champions LeagueGenk1-05-0Stamford Bridge
22011-1212 December2011Premier LeagueManchester City1-12-1Stamford Bridge
32011-1206 March2012FA CupBirmingham City2-02-0St Andrew's
42011-1218 March2012FA CupLeicester City5-25-2Stamford Bridge
52011-1204 April2012UEFA Champions LeagueBenfica2-12-1Stamford Bridge
62011-1213 May2012Premier LeagueBlackburn Rovers2-02-1Stamford Bridge

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