Bosingwa signs for three years, but is he what QPR need?
Monday, 20th Aug 2012 23:31 by Clive Whittingham
Double Champions League winner Jose Bosingwa is Mark Hughes’ latest signing, but as we saw on Saturday he must quickly adapt to playing in a less talented team if he’s to succeed at Loftus Road.
Bosingwa is a 29-year-old Portuguese international right back who could also have played for the Democratic Republic of Congo. He’ll certainly give most people in the modern game a run for their money in a game of Show Us Your Medals having won the Champions League, four Portuguese leagues, one Portuguese cup and two Portuguese Super Cups during his time with Porto, and the Champions League, Premier League, three FA Cups and a Community Shield while with Chelsea.
He moved to Portugal at a young age after being born in Zaire and spent the first two years of his fledgling career with Boavista, spending time on loan at Second Division whipping boys Freamunde in the 2000/01 campaign. In 2003 he moved to Porto under rookie manager Jose Mourinho and made more than 100 appearances on the right side of defence as his manager announced himself on the world stage with a Champions League success at the end of Bosingwa’s first full season – he was an unused substitute in the final.
Mourinho subsequently moved on to Chelsea but didn’t take Bosingwa with him, as he had done with Ricardo Carvalho. In fact it was Luis Felipe Scolari who brought him to Stamford Bridge in 2008 for £16.2m along with his fellow countryman Deco. Scolari had previously picked Bosingwa regularly for the Portuguese national team – he won 24 caps and made the team of the tournament at the 2008 European Championships.
Scolari’s reign at Stamford Bridge was ill fated and short lived but Bosingwa remained, despite an offer for his services from Bayern Munich in the summer of 2009 and a season ending knee injury sustained in October that year. It took him exactly a year to return to action but at the beginning of the 2011/12 season another former Porto boss Andre Villas Boas made him his first choice and even though he, like Scolari, was sacked early in the season Bosingwa went on to make 43 appearances including playing 78 minutes of the Champions League semi final second leg in Barcelona, and the full final in Munich. He also played 90 minutes in the FA Cup final win against Liverpool, one of 112 starts in his Chelsea career to go with 15 sub appearances and three goals.
He’s had his disciplinary problems in the past. At Porto he was involved in a dramatic car accident that ended with another footballer Sandro Luis having his foot amputated, he was accused of stamping on Liverpool’s Yossi Benayoun in 2009 but the FA said FIFA regulations prevented retrospective action, and he was banned for three European games (reduced to two on appeal) for branding the referee of Chelsea’s 2009 Champions League defeat to Barcelona “a thief”. He was sent off playing for Chelsea at Loftus Road last season in the league.
Bosingwa has signed a three year deal at Loftus Road.
“He has got plenty of pace, great technical ability and all the attributes you need to be a top player. Jose has a lot of versatility which is something I like my players to have. He can operate right across the back and can also play the holding role in midfield. He’s another Champions League winner, the third in the squad now with Ji-Sung Park and Djibril Cisse, and will add invaluable experience to the group. His experience is really important to us. He understands the Premier League and he understands what it takes to win games. He has got a winning mentality and that is what I want to have around the place.” - Mark Hughes
“I had the pick of many clubs, but the project here excites me greatly. I spoke yesterday with the manager and owner and they showed me what they want for the future of the club. This is maybe the most important challenge of my career. I want to help my team-mates and the team with my experience. All together, we will fight for the club. We need time. We start now and in one, two or three years we can win something. We have to have passion and I think the results will come.” - Jose Bosingwa
“I think it speaks volumes of how far we’ve come as a club that we’re able to attract a double Champions League winner to Loftus Road. There was big competition from a number of Europe’s top clubs – including a few from the Premier League – for his signature, so I couldn’t be more delighted that we’ve managed to get him here. Mark and Mike are dovetailing superbly together to improve our squad and this latest addition excites me as much as the seven that have preceded it.” - Tony Fernandes
A penny for the thoughts of Jose Bosingwa as he sat in the stands and watched his new club succumb to a five goal massacre at the hands of Swansea City on Saturday. The Portuguese full back has been at pains to say that he selected QPR ahead of other Premiership teams and if that’s the case he may have been tempted to ask whether a 48 hour cooling off period was included in his contract to enable a swift escape.
If the Chelsea fans are to be believed, then Bosingwa isn’t going to improve the situation greatly – to a man they’re happy to tell anybody who will listen that he cannot defend. Well, judging from the prosecution opening statement at the weekend we already have a full back who can’t do that on loan from Manchester United for the other side so at least the defence will be well balanced.
He is one of those Roberto Carlos, Maicon, Kyle Walker-type modern full backs who’s threatening to other teams going forwards, and dangerous to his own side going the other way. It furthers my belief that once Ale Faurlin is fit he’ll form a tight, deep lying midfield three with Ji Sung Park and Samba Diakite with full backs advancing beyond them on either side but for now it’s goals being conceded that are the issue and preventing that isn’t, apparently, Bosingwa’s forte.
We know a little bit about his defensive frailties already of course – who can forget him being skinned down the centre of the field by, of all people, Shaun Wright-Phillips in our home game with Chelsea last season? The result was a foul and a red card in a memorable QPR victory.
But let’s hang on just a moment here. Bosingwa, playing at full back, has won the Champions League twice with two different clubs, the Portuguese league on four occasions and the Premier League once, the Portuguese cup once and the FA Cup three times, the Portuguese Super Cup three times and the Community Shield once. He has 24 caps for Portugal and was named in the team of the tournament at the European Championships in 2008. That’s certainly not too bad for somebody who apparently cannot defend.
Nor were his performances for Chelsea last season as the Blues stubbornly resisted attacking onslaughts from first Barcelona over two legs and then Bayern Munich in their own stadium to lift the Champions League trophy for the first time. Their approach was unashamedly negative and defensive, aiming to soak up pressure for hours at a time and then snatching chances on the counter attack. Bosingwa played in both the semi final and final and didn’t look out of place in either which, again, rather pours scorn on the idea that he can’t defend.
What we potentially have here is a clear case of differing expectation levels. The majority of Chelsea fans you speak to these days don’t remember Frank Sinclair, they think Steve Clarke is a mediocre assistant manager rather than a former mediocre full back and they couldn’t pick Erland Johnsen out from an identity parade if you stuck a £10,000 prize on it. Chelsea fans are comparing him to Ricardo Carvalho, John Terry and Ashley Cole. They’re looking at the right backs that play against them in the Champions League and when compared in that company, yes, Jose Bosingwa can be found wanting defensively.
Although this may be about to change, judging by the number of Koreans in South Africa Road on Saturday taking photographs of absolutely everything that moved, the majority of QPR fans still remember the summer of 2001 and its high stakes pre-season battle for the starting left back slot between Paul Bruce and Christer Warren. Even in the brave new era we’re currently entering Rangers are currently using Nedum Onuoha at right back who looked uncomfortable last season and a liability on Saturday despite a decent pre-season. He’s now at the stage where he should be used in his favoured centre back position or not at all. Bosingwa, for all his failings, is a vast improvement on what we have available to us currently.
What Bosingwa will find out pretty quickly is he’s not in Kansas anymore. He’s never played in a bad side either for Porto, Chelsea or Portugal. For almost his entire career when he’s made a mistake he’s had the likes of Petr Cech, Terry, Carvalho and others behind him and to his left meaning even the most desperate of causes isn’t lost. On Saturday three Swansea goals came within two passes of QPR giving the ball away in their own half.
Like Fabio on the other side he must quickly adapt to playing with poorer players than he ever has before if he’s to succeed at Loftus Road.
Pictures – Action Images
Photo: Action Images
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