Tag: portugal

A trip inside the world-leading Benfica academy

“LOOK AT EDERSON OF MANCHESTER CITY. When he came to me he was just a lad from the favelas, too scared to leave his own penalty area. Now he takes bigger risks…

Jorge Mendes and the journey from nobody to football titan

Modern-day football us about much more than just the 90 minutes played on the pitch. The intricate complexities of the game transcend the playing surface, forming a web spun by managers, directors and…

Deco: the understated master of his time

“I am not attracted to straight angles or to the straight line, hard and inflexible … I am attracted to free-flowing, sensual curves.” By the time he passed away in 2012, Oscar Niemeyer…

Vítor Oliveira: Portugal’s undisputed king of promotions

HAVING HELD 22 separate managerial positions across 17 different Portuguese football clubs throughout his long and continuing career as a manager, Vítor Manuel Oliveira has proven himself to have an extraordinary and…

How Benfica became a global figurehead in player development

THE CONCEPT OF AGGREGATION by marginal gains was first championed by British cycling performance director Sir David Brailsford. In an interview with the BBC during the aftermath of the London 2012 Olympics,…

The curious case of Portuguese sensation Dani

Portuguese, devilishly handsome, full of himself and self-centred. A product of the Sporting Clube de Portugal academy, fond of a step-over or two and a footballer who made his name in the…

Mr Unorthodox: Abel Xavier and the Mozambique hotseat

When the news broke in January 2016 that former Everton and Liverpool defender Abel Xavier had been announced as the new manager of the Mozambique national team, many football fans smiled at…

The Battle of Nuremberg at World Cup 2006

On any occasion that a player’s participation in a major tournament is cut short courtesy of an accumulation of yellows, the empathetic aftermath often unites the watching world in a way unlike…

The flair and treachery of Luís Figo

A bustling café looks out onto a marina harbouring luxurious yachts and boats exclusive to the affluent. The enclosed water is calm and tourists visiting this shrine to the rich are serene,…