Sporting Clube de Portugal and West Ham United may only have faced each other once in their history prior to Monday evening's match-up in the Torneio do Guardiana, but you do not have to look too far to discover a couple of recent links between the sides.

Current Hammers man Ricardo Vaz Te was a youth player at the Lisbon club, while one-time Portuguese international Dani played nine top-flight games for West Ham whilst on loan from the LeƵes in 1996.

Dani's loan spell included two goals - against Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City - and he is looking forward to watching his two former clubs go head to head in the Algarve.


He told "It's always an interesting moment when two teams you played for come up against each other.

"I think it's a good game for both sides at this stage of pre-season. Players will make mistakes, that's what pre-season is about, learning from them and eradicating them, and I am sure it will be a good show.

"It is a good tournament and there will be good matches between all three of the teams, Sporting, West Ham and Braga."

Sporting finished seventh in the Portuguese Primeira Liga last term and reacted by bringing in former Braga and Olympiacos coach Leonardo Jardim.

Dani explained that Sporting would provide the Hammers with a useful test, slightly different from what they would normally face domestically.

He said: "Sporting have a new coach for this season, so it will be interesting to see how the players are assimilating with the culture of him and the culture of the club.

"The game will present West Ham with a different test from what they face in the Premier League. Sporting are an attractive team, maybe there will be a little less hustle than you get in the Premier League, but they will have plenty of skill on the ball and in their passing."

Looking back at his time at the Boleyn Ground, 36-year-old Dani, who also played for Ajax, Benfica and Atletico Madrid, recalls the spell with fondness and he still looks out for how the east Londoners are getting on.

He added: "I had a good time at West Ham. It's a time that I look back at with a smile on my face.

"A lot of things happened, I matured as a player, and it was an important time in improving our position in the championship, so it was positive.

"I work on television in Portugal now, so that enables me to keep an eye on West Ham. We look more at the Champions League, but there's also an interest in everyone in the Premier League, from 20th place to first, it's always a great show.

"I'm looking forward to Monday's game and I hope to be there for it."

West Ham United v Pacos de Ferreira