Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Portugal's Greatest All-Time 23-member Team

European Champion 2016

This is my all-time team for Portugal. If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament.  

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

BenficaPortoSporting SP
Black Portuguese Players

Portugal has two great Golden Generations.  The first one was in the 1960's.  They were nicknamed "Os Magriços".  They beat Brazil and reached the semifinal of the 1966 World Cup before eliminated by the eventual champion England.  They were one of the most exciting team at the Finals.  Benfica also dominated European club football at the same time with Eusebio, Mario Coluna, Germano, Jose Augusto and Jose Aguas .  The second Golden Generation came in the 1990's when their Under-20 team won back-to-back FIFA World Youth Championship in 1989 and 1991. They reached the final of Euro 2004 and the semifinal of the WC in 2006.  The key players were Victor Baia, Rui Costa, Luis Figo and Fernando Couto.  After that generation, Cristano Ronaldo also led Portugal to the semifinal of Euro 2012.  Then, in Euro 2016, Portugal surprised everyone by winning the Euro Championship.
Portugal World Cup 1966
GK: Vitor Baia
Vitor Baia was Portugal's most decorated keeper. He was one of two keepers who had won all three UEFA main club competitions.  With Porto, he won 26 titles, including the Champions League in 2004.  He played briefly with Barcelona. For Portugal, he had 80 caps.  He played in the Euro 1996 and 2000, and the WC finals in 2002.

GK: Manuel Bento
Bento won Portugal Goalkeeper of the Year for 8 times.  He represented Portugal at the European Championship in 1984 and the 1986 World Cup Finals, helping the national team reach the semifinals in the former tournament. He earned 63 caps.  He played over 630 appearances for Benfica between 1972 and 1992. 

GK:  Costa Pereira
Costa Pereira was the goalkeeper for both Benfica and Portugal during the golden years in the 1960's.  He played for Benfica between 1954 and 1967.  He won two consecutive European Cup with them in 1961 and 1962, with Mario Coluna, Eusebio, etc and lost two other finals in 1963 and 1965. Capped 22 times between 1955 and 1965.  He was not selected for the 1966 World Cup Finals.

RB: Joao Pinto
Bobby Robson said of him: "He has two hearts and four legs. It's extremely difficult to find a player like him."  He won the European Cup in 1987 with Porto.  He was one of Porto's greatest fullback.  He spent his entire professional career with Porto, winning nine leagues and the 1987 European Cup. He played 70 times for Portugal. He went to the 1986 World Cup Finals as well as the European Championship in 1984.

CB: Ricardo Carvalho
Ricardo Carvalho was the hero of Porto's Champions' League winning team in 2004.  He then played 6 seasons with Chelsea.  He also played for Real Madrid.  Jose Mourinho was his manager at the three clubs. He also played for Monaco and Shanghai SIPG. He was capped 76 times for Portugal. He helped Portugal to reach the Final of Euro 2004 at home and the semifinal of the World Cup Finals in 2006. He was a part of Portugal's Euro 2016 winning team.
Ricardo Carvalho
CB: Humberto Coelho
Humberto Coelho was Portugal's cap record holder at one point.  He was known as the "Beckenbauer of Portugal".  He played with Benfica between 1968 and 1975 after making his debut as 18 years old.  He played Paris St. Germain between 1975 and 1977.  He also played in the United States. He play 64 times for Portugal.  He helped Portugal to qualify for the Euro 1984 in France, but he did not go due to an injury. He never appeared in a major tournament.

CB/DM: Germano
Germano is probably one pf Portugal's greatest defensive players.  He was the captain for both Portugal and Benfica during the 1960's.  He played most of his career with Benfica, appearing in 131 official games and winning eight major titles, including two European Cups.  He went to the World Cup finals in 1966, but did not play well and lost his captaincy.

CB: Pepe
Pepe moved to Portugal playing for Maritimo.  In 2004, he moved to Porto while he established himself as one of the best defender in Portugal.  In 2007, he earned a dream move to Real Madrid.  He won two Champions' league with them. Although born in Brazil, he chose to represent Portugal.  At Euro 2016, he emerged as one of Portugal's best player as Portugal won their first ever international trophy.  He earned the Man of the Match in the Final against France.
CB:  Fernando Couto
Fernando Couto won the Double in every leagues he played in and in three different countries.  He started with Porto, and went to play in Spain and Italy. He was a member of Portugal's Golden Generation that won won the 1989 FIFA World Youth Championship. He earned 110 caps for the senior national team. He went to the 2002 World Cup Finals, and three other European Championships.

LB: Hilario
Hilario was first noticed at Sporting de Lourenço Marques along with teammate Eusébio.  He joined Sporting CP while Eusebio went to Benfica. He played his entire professional career with Sporting CP, appearing in nearly 450 official games and winning seven major trophies.  He was the starting leftback of Portugal in 1960's.   He went to the 1966 WC finals in England.

LB: Alvaro 
Alvaro amassed Primeira Liga totals of 224 games and six goals over the course of 11 seasons, mainly with Benfica with which he spent nine seasons, winning ten major titles. At the international level, he had 20 caps between 1981 and 1988. He was Portugal's starting leftback for the 1984 European Championship in France, where Portugal reached the semifinal.  He also played in World Cup 1986 in Mexico.

CM: Mario Coluna
Mario Coluna is one of the greatest player ever for both Portugal and Benfica. He spent most of his career with Benfica, appearing in 525 official games and scoring 127 goals during 16 professional seasons. He was dubbed Monstro Sagrado (Sacred Monster).  He won 19 major titles with his main club, including ten national leagues. He won two European Cup with Benfica in 1961 and 1962.  He was the captain of Portugal in the 1966 World Cup. He was known to be Eusebio's greatest footballing partner and friend.
Mario Coluna
CM: Paulo Sousa
Paulo Sousa won two straight Champions League titles with two different clubs.  He won his first one in 1995 with Juventus  and then, in 1996 with Borussia Dortmund. He was a member of Portugal's Golden Generation that won won the 1989 FIFA World Youth Championship.  He appeared with the national team in one World Cup and two European Championships.

CM: Deco
Born in Brazil, he played for many clubs in both Brazil and Portugal before making it with Porto in 1999.  He was the star of Porto's Champions' League title in 2003-2004, and then, another one in 2005-2006 with Barcelona FC. Deco chose to represent Portugal internationally. He was capped 75 times for Portugal between 2003 and 2010. 
AM: Rui Costa
Rui Costa was one of the best players in the 1990's Portugal's Golden Generation. He was a part of the team that won the 1991 U-20 World Cup.  He starred for Benfica, Florentina and AC Milan. He won a Champions' League title with AC Milan in the 2003-2004 season.  He earned 94 caps fpr Portugal.  He represented the country in three UEFA European Championships and one FIFA World Cup. He led Portugal to the Final of European Championship at home, scoring a screamer against England.
Rui Costa
RW: Jose Augusto
Jose Augusto was a part of  Benfica and Portugal's Golden Generation in the 1960s. He served as the right winger playing with Esuebio, Mario Coluna, etc. He started with  Barreirense.  He spent most of his career with Benfica where he won two European Cup titles and reached 3 other Finals in the 1960's.  He won 13 titles over there. He earned 45 caps between 1958 and 1968. He starred at the World Cup Finals 1966 with Portugal.

RW: Luis Figo
Figo is one of Portugal's greatest players.  He was the 2000 European Footballer of the Year and the 2001 FIFA World Player of the Year. He is one of the few football players to have played for both Spanish rival clubs Barcelona and Real Madrid. His controversial 2000 transfer from Barcelona to Real Madrid set a world record fee of €62 million.  With Real Madrid, he was the first member of the Galacticos. He won the Champions' League title in 2002.
Luis Figo
LW:  Paulo Futre
Paulo Futre won a European Cup with Porto in 1987. He was the best Portuguese player in the 1980's. He gained more than 40 caps for his country, representing it at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.  He played in Spain, France, Italy and Japan, most notably with Atlético Madrid and Porto.  With Porto, he won the European Cup in 1987, putting on a Man of the match performance in the final against FC Bayern Munich.

FW: Pinga
Liked Cristano Ronaldo, Pinga came from Madeira.  He was one of the first major star players from Portugal and Porto during the 1930's.  He started with Martimo in 1929.  He joined Porto in 1930 and played until 1946. He is considered to be among Porto's greatest players.  He became the key player of the victories in the 31–32 and 36–37 Campeonato de Portugal.  For Portugal, he made his debut while playing for Martimo. He had 21 caps from 1930 and 1942.

FW/LW: Cristano Ronaldo
Cristano Ronaldo is one of the greatest player in history.  He is the most expensive players in history from 2009-2013 when he moved from Manchester United to Real Madrid.  At the time of writing, he won the Ballon d'Or winner four times and won Champions' League titles with both Manchester United and Real Madrid.  He helped Portugal to reach the Final of European Championship in 2004 and 2016, winning it in 2016.  After the World Cup Finals in 2018, he moved to Juventus in Italy.
ST: Fernando Peyroteo
Fernando Peyroteo was born in Portuguese Angola. He played his entire career with Sporting CP, between 1937 and 1949, scoring 544 goals for them.  He was the star of the forward line known as  Cinco Violino(Five Violins).  He was the league top scorer 6 times.  His goals-per-game ratio was arguably the best in the history of football, at 1.6 successful strikes per game. He played 20 times for Portugal during nearly 11 years between 1938 and 1949, scoring 14 goals.

ST: Jose Aguas 
Jose Aguas played for Benfica between 1950 and 1963. He was a senior member of the Golden Generation in the 1960s. He was the hero of Benfica's European Cup title in 1961 and 1962, captaining both teams while scoring the first goal at each Final.  He did not play in the 1963 Final against AC Milan. He left Benfica in 1963 and joined Austria Vienna. From 1952 to 1962, he was capped 25 times.

ST: Eusebio 
Along with Pele, Eusebio was considered to be the best player in the world during the 1960's.  He helped Portugal reach third place at the 1966 World Cup, being the top goalscorer of the tournament with 9 goals (including four in one match against North Korea) and received the Bronze Ball award. He won the Ballon d'Or award for European footballer of the year in 1965. He played for Benfica 15 out of his 22 years as a footballer.  He won the European Cup in 1961.
Honorable Mention 
Artur Correia, José Travassos, Vicente Lucas, Fernando Chalana, Nene, Matateu, António Simões, Nani, Rui Patrício, Simão Sabrosa, João Vieira Pinto, Maniche, Nuno Gomes, Pauleta, Ricardo (goalkeeper), Ricardo Quaresma, Domiciano Cavém, Paulo Ferreira, Jorge Costa.

Squad Explanation 
-- Eusebio, Mario Coluna, Cristano Ronaldo and Luis Figo are automatic selections.  No need to explain their selections.
-- I focused a lot on the two Golden Generations of Portugal, the 1960's and the period between 1994 and 2006.  
-- From the 1960's, I selected Costa Pereira, Eusebio, Mario Coluna, Jose Aguas, Hilario, Germano and Jose Augusto. Goalkeeper Costa Pereira did not attend the 1966 World Cup Finals. Instead, Portugal took Joaquim Carvalho and José Pereira to the Finals. I selected Costa Pereira over them on this all-time team because he spent a decade starting for Portugal and Benfica. 
-- From 1994-2006, I selected Vitor Baia, Rui Costa, Luis Figo, Ricardo Carvalho, Fernando Couto, Paulo Sousa and Deco.  Cristano Ronaldo also played at the 2006 World Cup Finals, but he was very young in 2006.
-- Portugal won back-to-back World Youth Championship in 1989 and 1991.  Paulo Sousa and Fernando Couto were on the 1989 team while Luis Figo and Rui Costa came from the 1991 team.  João Vieira Pinto who was a forward played on both teams, but I selected rightback João Domingos da Silva Pinto.  Most of the players did not have much of a career with the senior national team.  João Vieira Pinto, Jorge Costa and Abel Xavier are one of the few players who played numerous times for Portugal's senior side.  Emílio Peixe who won the Golden Ball in 1991 only earned 12 caps.  His last cap was when he was 20 years old.
-- The European Championship winning team is underrepresented here.  Only Cristano Ronaldo and Pepe made the team.  Ricardo Carvalho also made the team, but he had a minor role at the Euro 2016. He was selected for his performance earlier in his career.
-- Ricardo Quaresma, Nani and Rui Patrício became honourable mentions after helping Portugal to win the Euro 2016.  The trophy was so historical significant that they deserved a place somewhere. The reputation of Ricardo Quaresma and Nani were in question before Euro 2016, but without them, Portugal might not have won the cup. 
-- Ricardo is the 4th goalkeeper.  Rui Patrício also deserved a spot because he was the hero at the 2016 European Championship.
-- Bobby Robson was a big fan of Joao Pinto and I trusted his opinion.  I took Joao Pinto over Artur and Domiciano Cavém. Artur had some injury issues while Domiciano Cavém's missing from the 1966 team affected his status.  Paulo Ferreira also deserved a mention.
-- Artur Correia was originally on the squad, but I dropped the rightback for Pepe after Euro 2016.  Pepe had been sensational throughout Euro 2016.  He was perhaps the best Portuguese player in the Finals as Portugal won their first major international tournament. 
-- I am carrying 5 centerbacks.  Germano would mainly be used in the midfield.  He did not have a good World Cup Finals.  Nevertheless, he had a remarkable career with Benfica.
-- Paulo Sousa was a surprise inclusion because I need a backup defensive midfielder.  I saw Mario Coluna as a box-to-box midfielder.   
-- José Travassos was not selected because I have Deco and Rui Costa ahead of him.  
-- Paulo Futre was the best Portuguese player between the two Golden Generations.  
-- I already have two left side wings in Cristano Ronaldo and Paulo Futre.  So I did not need Fernando Chalana and António Simões.  Both players deserved a chance.  
-- I preferred Jose Aguas over Nene who is also a surprise omission. Basically, Jose Aguas is associated with Benefica of the 1960's.  
-- Matateu probably should be on the team.
European Nations League  2019

Starting lineup 
Formation: 4-2-1-3
The starting lineup is built round the two Golden Generations with Cristano Ronaldo. Victor Baia is the starter because he is the more decorated than the other keepers. Germano protects the midfield. Mario Coluna is the box-to-box mdfielder/runner on the team.  Rui Costa is the main creative force. The big three played upfront.  Ronaldo played as a left wing/forward, Eusebio the striker and Figo the right wing. In 2019, I promoted Pepe to the starting lineup.  His performance at Euro 2016 put him among the greatest ever performance in a tournament for a defender.



  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Where did you get that Germano played in Midfield?

    As far as media portrays him, he was a center back in a 3 or 4 men defense line.

    If you really wanted to put a center back to be an anchor on the midfield, it should have been Pepe, who was once in a while dropped on the midfield around 2009-2011.