Despite their success domestically and in Europe, Porto are often seen by players as a stepping stone to one of the continent’s superclubs.
Porto have been a popular first home for plenty of South American players moving to Europe, meaning they’ve had a host of star names on their books over the years.
We’ve compiled an XI of the best players sold by Porto that are still plying their trade today.
Goalkeeper was the one position we struggled with, given Helton has now retired for a career in management and it felt like a cheat by including Iker Casillas.
That means we’ve plumped for Fabiano, who has two league winners’ medals to his name from his time at Porto, albeit he was mostly an able deputy throughout his seven years at the club.
A bit of a sh*t start, admittedly, but just stick with us.
That’s more like it, innit? A Copa Libertadores winner with Santos, a La Liga and Champions League winner with Real Madrid, a Premier League winner with Manchester City and most likely a Serie A winner with Juventus by the end of the season.
Just the two league titles in three seasons at Porto, too.
Now back at Porto after 12 years away, Pepe won two titles with the Portuguese outfit before winning everything in sight at Real Madrid.
A season at Besiktas followed, but he returned to the Estadio do Dragao in January. Remarkably, he’s yet to be sent off.
Otamendi’s stock at Manchester City isn’t exactly high at the minute, but given he played 34 times in Pep Guardiola’s 100-point season, we reckon he might be quite a good footballer.
Porto was the centre-back’s first club in Europe after leaving Velez Sarsfield, winning three titles and the Europa League, before earning a move to Valencia.
Having played on the opposite flank to Danilo at Santos in 2010-11, Sandro made the move to Porto in the summer of 2011 and was joined by his former team-mate six months later, meaning the club had two of the most exciting full-backs in Europe.
Sandro was named in O Jogo’s Team of the Year twice while winning two titles in Portugal before going on to win three consecutive Serie A-Coppa Italia Doubles at Juventus, where he has now been reunited with Danilo.
Indeed, when Danilo joined Juventus this summer, he said: “Alex Sandro is an important person for me, we’ve been friends for 10 years, so clearly his presence helped.”
Danilo & Alex Sandro have now played together at 4 different teams.
Santos, Porto, Brazil & Juventus
They’re both still only 28. pic.twitter.com/wbmzJw8d52
— AllThingsSeleção (@SelecaoTalk) August 7, 2019
There was plenty of competition for the central midfield places, including Raul Meireles, Fredy Guarin, Anderson (he was genuinely good for a bit), Steven Defour and Fernando.
But we’ve plumped for two players currently forming one of the sexiest midfields in the Premier League at Wolves, starting with Neves.
Neves joined Porto at the age of just eight, became the club’s youngest ever goalscorer after netting on his senior debut aged 17 and was the youngest player to captain a side in the Champions League the following year.
Neves’ partner in crime at Wolves, Moutinho actually came through the ranks at Sporting Lisbon before making the controversial move to rivals Porto in 2010, after which he was described as a “rotten apple” by Sporting chairman Jose Eduardo Bettencourt.
Moutinho responded by winning the Treble in his first season at Porto, which seems like a good retort.
Hulk took the unique career path of moving from Brazil to Japan to Portugal. In five years at Porto he became one of the most recognisable players in Europe, bagging 77 goals to fire the side to four titles and the Europa League.
One of his finest moments in a Porto shirt came in 2012 when he silenced Benfica fans who had subjected him to racist abuse with this rocket that clocked 108km/h.
Rodriguez left Porto alongside Moutinho to join Monaco in a combined deal worth €70million after becoming the latest South American player to catch the eye in Europe after moving to Portugal.
Signed for just €5.1million, Rodriguez ended his first season at the club by scoring a hat-trick in the Portuguese Cup final when he was still a teenager before becoming the youngest player to win the Portuguese Golden Ball award in 2012.
Jackson Martinez and Andre Silva were options in attack, but we had to go for Quaresma, who has enjoyed two spells at Porto, if only for his steadfast refusal to use his left foot.
Seventy-two goals in all competitions across two years at Porto. Don’t even try to argue with this one.
Notable absentees: Jackson Martinez, Eder Militao, Eliaquim Mangala (LOL), Anderson, Andre Silva, Ricardo Pereira, Willy Boly, Diogo Dalot, Steven Defour, Fernando, Raul Meireles, Fredy Guarin.