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.

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.
World Cup 1966

GK: Vitor Baia
He 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 in the Euro 1996 and 2000, and the WC finals in 2002.

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

GK:  Costa Pereira
The goalkeeper for both Benfica and Portugal during the golden years in the 1960's.  He won two consecutive European Cup with Benfica in 1961 and 1962, and lost two finals in 1963 and 1965. 

LB: Hilario
Hilario 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 
He 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. He was Portugaal's starting leftback for the Euro 1984 in France and World Cup 1986 in Mexico.

CB: Ricardo Carvalho
He 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.  He helped Portugal to reach the Final of Euro 2004 at home and the semifinal of the WC in 2006.  He was capped 76 times. He was a part of Portugal's Euro 2016 winning team.

Ricardo Carvalho

CB: Humberto Coelho
He was Portugal's cap record holder at one point.  Known as the "Beckenbauer of Portugal".  He played with Benfica and Paris St. Germain.  He helped Portugal to qualify for the Euro 1984 in France, but he did not go due to an injury.

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 WC finals in 1966, but did not play well and lost his captaincy.

CB: Pepe
Born in Brazil, 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.  At the time of writing, 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 was a member of Portugal's Golden Generation that won won the 1989 FIFA World Youth Championship. He earned 110 caps.

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.

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. 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 friend and his top assister on the field.

Mario Coluna
CM: Paulo Sousa
He 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 was the star of Porto's Champions' League title in 2003-2004, and then, another one in 2005-2006 with Barcelona FC. 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 Euro 2004 Final at home and the quarterfinal of Euro 1996.
Rui Costa
RW: Jose Augusto
He won two European Cup titles and reached 3 other Finals with Benfica in the 1960's.  He was a part of the Golden Generation in the 1960s. He starred at the WC 1966 with Portugal.  He earned 45 caps.

RW: Luis Figo
He is probably one of Portugal's greatest players.  He was the 2000 European Footballer of the Year, the 2001 FIFA World Player of the Year, and in 2004 was named in the FIFA 100 list of the world's greatest living players. 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 bitter rivals Real Madrid set a world record fee of £37 million (€62 million).  With Real Madrid, he was the first member of the Galacticos. He won the Champions' League title in 2002.

Luis Figo

FW/LW: Cristano Ronaldo
He is one of the greatest forward 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.  
LW:  Paulo Futre
He 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.

FW: Pinga
He was one of the first major star players from Portugal and Porto during the 1930's.  He is considered to be among Porto's greatest players. He had 21 caps.

ST: Fernando Peyroteo
He played his entire career with Sporting CP, between 1937 and 1949, scoring 544 goals for them.  He was the star of the team known as  Cinco Violino. He  played 20 times for Portugal during nearly 11 years, scoring 14 goals.

ST: Eusebio 
He is probably Portugal's greatest player.  Along with Pele, he 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 nine 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 and was runner-up in 1962 and 1966. He played for Benfica 15 out of his 22 years as a footballer.  He won the European Cup in 1961.


ST: Jose Aguas 
He was the hero of Benfica's first European Cup title in 1961. 
He won one more European Cup title a year later.  He was a part of the Golden Generation in the 1960s. He starred at the WC 1966 with Portugal.  He left Benfica in 1963 and joined Austria Vienna.

Honorable Mention 
Artur Correia, José Travassos, Fernando Chalana, Nene, Matateu, António Simões, Nani, Rui Patrício.

Squad Explanation 
  • I focused a lot on the two Golden Generations.
  • José Travassos was dropped because the team has too many attack midfielders. 
  • I already have two left wings in Ronaldo and Futre.  So I did not need Fernando Chalana.  
  • Paulo Sousa was a surprise inclusion because I need a backup defensive midfielder.  I saw Mario Coluna as a box-to-box midfielder.   
  • I preferred Jose Aguas over Nene.
  • Arthur Correia was originally on the squad, but I dropped him for Pepe after Euro 2016.  Pepe had been sensational throughout Euro 2016.  He was perhaps the best player as Portugal won their first major international tournament.
  • Matateu probably should be on the team.
  • 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. 
Portugal 1966

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.